Policies and Measures on TCM Development

II. Policies and Measures on TCM Development

China lays great store by the development of TCM. When the People’s Republic was founded in 1949, the government placed emphasis on uniting Chinese and Western medicine as one of its three guidelines for health work, and enshrined the important role of TCM. In 1978, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee transmitted throughout the country the Ministry of Health’s “Report on Implementing the Party’s Policies Regarding TCM and Cultivating TCM Practitioners,” and lent great support in areas of human resources, finance, and supplies, vigorously promoting the development of TCM. It is stipulated in the Constitution of the PRC that the state promotes modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine to protect the people’s health.

In 1986, the State Council set up a relatively independent administration of TCM. All provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government have established their respective TCM administrations, which has laid an organizational basis for TCM development. At the Fourth Meeting of the Seventh National People’s Congress, equal emphasis was put on Chinese and Western medicine, which was made one of the five guidelines in China’s health work in the new period. In 2003 and 2009, the State Council issued the “Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Traditional Chinese Medicine” and the “Opinions on Supporting and Promoting the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine,” gradually forming a relatively complete policy system on TCM.

Since the CPC’s 18th National Congress in 2012, the Party and the government have granted greater importance to the development of TCM, and made a series of major policy decisions and adopted a number of plans in this regard. At the National Conference on Hygiene and Health held in August 2016, President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of revitalizing and developing traditional Chinese medicine. The CPC’s 18th National Congress and the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee both reiterated the necessity to pay equal attention to the development of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine and lend support to the development of TCM and ethnic minority medicine. In 2015, the executive meeting of the State Council approved the Law on Traditional Chinese Medicine (draft) and submitted it to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for deliberation and approval, intending to provide a sounder policy environment and legal basis for TCM development.

In 2016, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the Outline of the Healthy China 2030 Plan, a guide to improving the health of the Chinese people in the coming 15 years. It sets out a series of tasks and measures to implement the program and develop TCM. The State Council issued the Outline of the Strategic Plan on the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2016-2030), which made TCM development a national strategy, with systemic plans for TCM development in the new era. These decisions and plans have mapped out a grand blueprint that focuses on the full revitalization of TCM, accelerated reform of the medical and healthcare system, the building of a medical and healthcare system with Chinese characteristics, and the advancement of the healthy China plan, thus ushering in a new era of development for TCM.

The basic principles and main measures envisioned to develop TCM are: Putting people first, and making achievements in TCM development accessible to everyone. TCM roots deep among the public, and the philosophies it contains are easy to understand. To meet the people’s demand for healthcare, China endeavors to expand the supply of TCM services, improve community-level TCM health management, advance the integral development of TCM with community service, care of the elderly and tourism, spread knowledge of TCM and advocate healthy ways of life and work, enhance welfare for the public, and ensure that the people can enjoy safe, efficient, and convenient TCM services.

Equal attention to TCM and Western medicine. Equal status shall be accorded to TCM and Western medicine in terms of ideological understanding, legal status, academic development, and practical application. Efforts shall be made to improve system of administration related to TCM, increase financial input, formulate policies, laws and regulations suited to the unique features of TCM, promote coordinated development of TCM and Western medicine, and make sure that they both serve the maintenance and improvement of the people’s health.

Making TCM and Western medicine complementary to each other, and letting each play to its strengths. The state encourages exchanges between TCM and Western medicine, and creates opportunities for Western medical practitioners to learn from their TCM counterparts. Modern medicine courses are offered at TCM colleges and universities to strengthen the cultivation of doctors who have a good knowledge of both TCM and Western medicine. In addition to the general departments, TCM hospitals have been encouraged to open specialized departments for specific diseases. General hospitals and community-level medical care organizations have been encouraged to set up TCM departments, and TCM has been made available to patients in the basic medical care system and efforts have been made to make it play a more important role in basic medical care. A mechanism has been established for TCM to participate in medical relief of public emergencies and the prevention and control of serious infectious diseases.

Upholding the dialectical unity of tradition and innovation, i.e., maintaining TCM’s characteristics while actively applying modern science and technology in TCM development. A system has been established to carry forward the theories and clinical experience of well-known veteran TCM experts, and efforts have been made to rediscover and categorize ancient TCM classics and folk medical experience and practices. A system of technological innovation has been established to advance TCM progress, and efforts have been made to carry out systemic research on the fundamental theories, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and therapeutic evaluation of TCM. Interdisciplinary efforts have been organized in joint research on the treatment and control of major difficult and complicated diseases and major infectious diseases, as well as research on the prevention and treatment of common diseases, frequently occurring diseases, and chronic diseases using TCM. Endeavor has been made in the R&D of new TCM medicines, and medical devices and equipment.

Making overall plans for integrated, coordinated and sustainable development of TCM. The state makes overall plans for the coordinated development of TCM, integrating such areas as TCM clinical practices, healthcare, R&D, education, industry, and culture. Efforts have been made to improve community-level TCM services and the TCM medical care system. A health promotion project featuring preventative treatment of diseases has been launched to enhance TCM medical care. China has built research bases for TCM clinical studies, developed a system of coordination and innovation for the prevention and treatment of major diseases with TCM, and launched programs for training professionals necessary for TCM inheritance and innovation, and improving the quality of the ranks of TCM workers. The state has set out to promote the green development of the entire TCM industrial chain, and vigorous efforts have been made in the development of non-pharmacological therapies. Further efforts have been made to upgrade the TCM industry and develop it into an emerging strategic industry. A nationwide program has been conducted to promote the core values of TCM.

Promoting TCM development by way of government support and multi-party participation. The government has made TCM an important component of economic and social development, and has included it in relevant plans and provided financial support. The state has strengthened the supervision and administration of TCM practices, and initiated a market access system for TCM practitioners, TCM medical institutions, and TCM medicines, and improved the standards for the quality and safety of TCM service. The government has developed preferential policies to let the market play a full and decisive role in allocating resources, and is striving to create a market environment characterized by equal participation and fair play, so as to maximize the potential and vitality of TCM. Encouragement has been given to social capital to support the development of TCM, and to private investors to establish TCM healthcare institutions.

(Source: The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China)

Traditional Chinese Medicine Universities in China

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