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A review of stories making the headlines
Traditional Chinese medicine to be standardized
People's Daily Online (http://english.people.com.cn), October 10, 2006

China will make an effort to standardize 500 traditional Chinese medicine remedies and procedures over the next five years. The standardization work will cover remedies, procedures, traditional medical terms and acupuncture standards, according to the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The lack of widely accepted standards has long been the reason that TCM has not been recognized and used in other countries. Chen Keji, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that, without the standards, "foreigners will not accept Chinese medicine."

2 fined for illegal TCM practice
The Straits Times (Singapore), October 17, 2006

Two people involved in TCM were fined and barred from practising. A company was also fined. The TCM Practitioners Board of Singapore found Huang Yingxia of Shen Nong Traditional Physiotherapy in Holland Village guilty of using an invalid identity card to obtain registration as a physician. It cancelled her registration last year, revoked her permanent resident status and fined $8,000. In the second case, the board imposed a $9,000 fine on Kangpo House of Wellness for hiring an unqualified person, Jiang Yuanzheng. The board had fined Jiang $9,000 last month for practising illegally.

Traditional Chinese medicine service network to cover urban, rural areas by 2010
People's Daily Online, October 20, 2006

China will establish a TCM service network covering both urban and rural areas up to 2010, according to a government TCM development plan. The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine recently publicized its eleventh five-year (2006-2010) development plan for TCM. The plan said TCM will play more important role in dealing with public health emergencies, in preventing and controlling severe diseases and in establishing new rural cooperative medical system and urban community medical system in the coming five years, said the plan. A unified TCM production and prescription standard system will also be established during the five years of the plan.

Call for law to enshrine the role of TCM
Xinhua Online (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english), October 20, 2006

Members of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People・s Congress have called for a law to enshrine the role of TCM. The law would call on the central and local governments to improve the structure of the TCM healthcare system and promote education and scientific study of TCM. A recent online petition initiated by a professor with the Central South University suggested that Chinese hospitals should only prescribe Western medicines. The proposal has stirred heated debate, with opponents labelling it ridiculous and ignorant. The central government has announced that more support will be given to bolster the development of TCM to set up a service network covering both urban and rural areas by 2010.

Status of Chinese medicine comes under attack
South China Morning Post, October 21, 2006

Scientific history professor Zhang Gongyao wants TCM stripped of its official status and excluded from the Chinese constitution. "A cure can't be guaranteed by TCM treatment. Sometimes it just assuages the conditions," he said. Over 10,000 people have put their names to Professor Zhang・s petition to exclude it from the constitution, including renowned doctors and medical professors, and he hopes to submit the proposals to the National Development and Reform Commission before the end of the year.

In response to his petition, members of the National People・s Congress・s public health committee called yesterday for the government to enact a law to improve and promote TCM. TCM・s supporters said Chinese medicine and Western medicine could not be compared - they were different approaches for different systems. Zhu Qingshi, president of the University of Science and Technology of China, supports TCM, but said traditional medicine had to have an empirical basis. "In order to make TCM accepted by people, I think it・s paramount to make its effects clear," he said.

Chinese Moss: The focus of Alzheimer's research
All Headline News (http://www.allheadlinenews.com), October 21, 2006

A plant used in TCM is now part of new U.S. clinical trial to see if it could provide help in treating Alzheimer・s patients. The plant called Chinese club moss, which is sold in health food stores in the U.S. as a nutritional supplement, is the focus of a University of North Carolina clinical trial. In China, the plant is used to treat cognitive disorders. The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, is federally funded and is part of a wider program of research into natural and alternative medicine. Patients participating in the trial are given a placebo or a dose of Huperzine A, an alkaloid derived from the plant. The dosage is much higher than that provided by supplements in health food stores. The clinical investigators test the cognitive responses of the patients. Final results from the investigation have yet to be announced.

Chinese herbal medicine may benefit angina patients
Zeenews.com (India Edition), October 28, 2006

A herbal medicine used to treat cardiovascular diseases in China may improve symptoms of chest pain when used in conjunction with traditional treatments, according to a new systematic review. Some studies included in the review showed that taking tongxinluo improved angina patients・ electrocardiogram results. "Tongxinluo is one of the most successful TCMs on the market in China," said lead author Wu Taixiang of Sichuan University, West China Hospital. Tongxinluo, widely used in parts of Asia, is composed of eight herbs and insects, which are mixed together, ground to a fine powder and enclosed in capsules. The data came from 18 randomized controlled trials, all conducted in China, comprising 1,413 patients ranging in age from 25 to 88.

Tunisian health minister expects wider cooperation on traditional Chinese medicine
People's Daily Online, October 29, 2006

Tunisian Minister of Public Health Ridha Kechrid expressed his country・s willingness to cooperate with China in developing TCM when accompanying Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People・s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), on a visit to an acupuncture center within Marsa Hospital in Tunis. Tunisia has been cooperating with China in medical studies for more than 30 years. Leader of the Chinese medical team in Tunisia, Tu Zixian briefed the two officials on the developments of the Acupuncture Center, and the hospital・s plans to develop it into a TCM center.

Poll: Chinese believe TCM
Shanghai Daily (http://www.shanghaidaily.com), October 30, 2006

Almost 90 percent of respondents in a 15,000-participant survey have confidence in TCM, Xinhua news agency has reported. The survey, conducted by China Youth Daily and a Beijing-based Internet communications company, said 87.8 percent of the respondents ticked "I believe in the principles of TCM." Another poll by Sina.com said 74.2 percent of the 20,219 participants supported TCM. "TCM is undeniably a mainstream medical treatment method in China," Xinhua quoted Yang Yonghua, a professor with the Hunan Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as saying in a previous report. "We believe in the scientific theory of TCM," according to 31 percent of the participants. Yet, only 27.7 percent of the participants used TCM as their first choice when they fell ill, and 61.3 percent were worried about the future of TCM in China because they thought the technique was falling behind its competitors.

Zhang Gongyao, a professor at Central South University, recently launched an online petition calling for the removal of TCM from the country's healthcare system. In reply, the Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine lambasted the petition saying, "the idea of abolishing traditional Chinese medicine is like denying science."

Compiled By:
Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.