Home > Current Events > Year 2006 December
A review of stories making the headlines
New law backs up Chinese medicine
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), December 2, 2006

From the first of December, Hong Kong's registered practitioners of TCM were able to issue sick notes for patients íV a step they see as recognition at long last of their professionalism, but also one that threatens to trigger disputes with insurers since it takes more time to establish a TCM diagnosis and treatment. The city's 5,300 registered herbalists can now issue sick leave and maternity leave certificates, and the certificates employees need to claim long-service payments on health grounds, under the Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2006. Previously, it was up to individual employers to decide whether or not to accept a practitioner's certificate for medical leave.

"Too many people" around for physician to molest patient
The Straits Times (Singapore), December 9, 2006

A TCM practitioner was yesterday cleared of two counts of outraging the modesty of a patient. Noting that there were "just too many people in the clinic" and accepting the evidence of another patient, the judge acquitted Mr Lim Chin Siang, 51. Mr Lim was accused of molesting the 37-year-old housewife at Chau Poh Clinic in Siang Kuang Avenue in MacPherson on January 4 last year. She went there with her two children. After Mr Lim treated her eight-year-old son, the boy went outside to play with his computer game. Her nine-year-old daughter remained in the room. When the daughter went to the washroom it was alleged, Mr Lim molested her. His lawyer, Mr Chia Kok Seng, argued that it could not have happened. The door of his consultation room was always open and there were at least one or two other patients that morning who did not hear anything untoward.

Support to minority medicines stepped up
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition), December 9, 2006

China will accelerate the development of traditional minority medicine, a top official with the Ministry of Health said yesterday. The remarks came after an official statement that TCM was one of the best parts of Chinese culture and should not be excluded from medical and health systems in the country. The statement, made by the Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM), was in response to a call by some academics to abolish TCM from the country's medical system. By the end of last year, a total of 15 ethnic groups including Tibetans, Mongolians and Uygur minorities had established 195 hospitals that treated patients with their minority medicines, She Jing, vice-health minister and director of SATCM told a national conference.

Eu Yan Sang to distribute American ginseng worldwide
The Business Times (Singapore), December 13, 2006

TCM company Eu Yan Sang (EYS) International has signed an exclusive worldwide agreement to distribute Wisconsin-grown American ginseng. The deal is expected to add more than $10 million to turnover in the first year, with potential for more than $40 million in three to five years, EYS said. It will get the herb from Wisconsin Ginseng & Herb Co-op, a non-profit group representing Wisconsin growers, for processing and distribution worldwide. American ginseng products sold by EYS will have the sole right to carry the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin Inc seal, also known as the Wisconsin Seal. Ginseng from Wisconsin is different from that grown elsewhere, EYS said. "Wisconsin grown ginseng is highly sought after in Asian markets as aficionados consume the fine herb for increased vitality, reduction of excess bodily heat and stress relief."

More joint R&D centres on the way
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition), December 15, 2006

Shang Yong, vice-minister of science and technology, said yesterday at the two-day International Forum on Globalization of R&D in Beijing, that his ministry will encourage and jointly fund Sino-foreign labs in China, boosting the nation's research capacity in such areas as physics, mathematics, and high-technology. "Sino-foreign joint labs will be mainly distributed in areas where the Chinese Government has key cooperation project with foreign countriesíK" Shang told China Daily.

So far, China has cooperated with 152 countries in science and technology, and has signed bilateral science and technology co-operation agreements with 99 governments. Earlier this year, China launched a major international science programme to research TCM. In the coming year, China will also launch and lead a big international cooperation project on clean energy, said Shang, without revealing the date and investment for the project. In addition, Shang said his ministry is designing a mechanism called "one plus one", which will encourage a Chinese institute and an enterprise to establish foreign R&D centres.

Modernising a tradition
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), December 17, 2006

From this month, existing TCM practitioners will have the authority to issue sick leave certificates to their patients, while universities are beginning to offer degrees in the field. These developments may be regarded as milestones, but insiders said the industry had a long way to go before it became a streamlined profession. Chinese University, the University of Hong Kong and Baptist University currently offer courses in Chinese medicine. "The traditional culture of old Chinese medicine practitioners passing on their skills to adherents is no longer acceptable in modern society," said Che Chun-tao, director of the School of Chinese Medicine at Chinese University. Although Chinese and western medical practices are two different disciplines, it has always been the industries' ideal to combine the two for effective treatment. For this reason, undergraduates must have a biomedical background.

Professor Che said most graduates had joined the nine TCM clinics in public hospitals on three-year contracts as junior TCM practitioners. Others were working for clinics in private hospitals and medical centres or those run by non-profit organisations. Graduates who opt to further their studies for master's and Ph.D. degrees must undergo research studies.

Learning from masters a solution for TCM success
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition), December 21, 2006

An ongoing nationwide campaign is aimed at encouraging young TCM doctors to imbibe the clinical expertise of veteran TCM practitioners. Since 2003, 599 famous TCM doctors have been invited to join the TCM inheritance programme. For 2,000 years, TCM practice was passed down from father to son, or from master to apprentice. Over the past half-a-century, TCM education has been adopting a Western medical education model. However, this model is not working well. There are complaints that some young TCM graduates are not providing satisfactory treatment to their patients. Reviving the traditional apprenticeship system is seen as an important step toward rescuing this ancient system of medicine.

64 students in Jiangxi contract hepatitis A
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition), December 21, 2006

Sixty-four students at a university in Nanchang, in East China's Jiangxi Province, have contracted hepatitis A in the latest outbreak of the disease. The Jiangxi Provincial Health Department is investigating the outbreak at Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the department director, surnamed Zhu, told China Daily. Students at the university's suburban Wanli branch campus said they started noticing a loss of appetite and physical strength last Sunday, sources said. All 64 students have been sent to hospital and are in stable condition. The department said more people from the campus may have caught the highly infectious disease because its incubation period could last up to 30 days, meaning more infections could emerge. An initial investigation suggested that contaminated drinking water was behind that outbreak. The first case appeared on 23 November, and the outbreak spread on 6 December.

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