China will launch a crackdown on illegal medical practices, especially those of unlicensed practitioners calling themselves Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) gurus.
Xu Zhiren, an official with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at a press conference on Aug 27 that there is no room for illegal medical practices.
In response to a recent case in which a self-proclaimed Qigong master, Wang Lin, stirred controversy over his "supernatural powers" and massive wealth, Xu said what Wang practiced was not Qigong for medical purposes, and Qigong for medical purposes must be performed by certified TCM doctors.
Wang, a 61-year-old native of Jiangxi province claiming to be a master of Qigong, a traditional martial art combined with meditation, sparked controversy in July after images of his supposed "supernatural powers," such as conjuring snakes out of thin air, and pictures of him with celebrities were posted on the Internet.
The public has questioned the authenticity of Wang's claims, with some media accusing him of amassing large sums of money through claims of medical cures.
Health authorities in Jiangxi said Wang lacks licenses required for medical practitioners and called on the public to offer tips pertaining to his illegal medical practices.
Xu vowed severe punishment of unlicensed doctors who perform medical treatments.
Wang's case is not an isolated one.
In 2010, Zhang Wuben, a self-proclaimed nutritionist, became a guru overnight through his food therapy forums on a television program. His hallmark theory held that mung beans could act as a panacea and his book, "Eat Out the Diseases You Have Eaten," became a best-seller.
Zhang's medical qualifications were later exposed as false and his theories have been refuted, as followers failed to find cures for their diseases after expensive consultations with Zhang.
Also at Tuesday's conference, the administration said many of the health-promoting institutions springing up nationwide are not up to standard, and regulation over the market is not in place.
Xu said China aims to build a well-developed TCM disease prevention and health care system in the next 30 years.
Special Coverage: Traditional Chinese Medicine