A white paper on medical and health services released by the Chinese government underlined the irreplaceable role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), because of its unique characteristics and advantages in curing diseases of different kinds.
The document called TCM the crystallization of the wisdom of the Chinese people, which has made important contributions to the continuance and thriving of the Chinese nation.
TCM is very popular among the Chinese for its low cost, satisfactory curative action and mild side effects, said the paper issued by the State Council's Information Office.
China has signed treaties with TCM contents or special TCM cooperation agreements with over 70 countries, and cooperation in TCM application in foreign countries, and more than 160 countries and regions around the world have access to the TCM, it said.
TCM acupuncture and moxibustion has been recognized as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of mankind, and the Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica) and other TCM treatises have been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World, according to the white paper.
The International Standardization Organization (ISO) has set up a TCM technical committee and located its secretariat in China, it said.
In China, TCM medical services at different levels have been established in both urban and rural areas. Currently, 75.6 percent of community health service centers, 51.6 percent of community health service stations, 66.5 percent of village and township hospitals and 57.5 percent of village clinics can provide TCM services.
By 2011, China had a total of 46 higher learning institutions specializing in TCM and ethnic medicine, with 553,000 undergraduate students of TCM on campus, as well as 294,000 practitioners and assistant doctors of TCM, in addition to 97,000 licensed and assistant pharmacists in TCM.
Currently, the white paper said, there are about 1,500 manufacturers of TCM pharmaceuticals in the country, and so far, 41 TCM programs have entered the nation's intangible heritage list.