Nation to open 20 overseas traditional medicine centers
China plans to open about 20 Traditional Chinese Medicine collaboration centers overseas this year, according to a senior TCM official.
The aim is to open the centers in countries and regions covered by China’s Belt and Road Initiative to enable the medical science to benefit more people, the official said.
Wang Xiaopin, director of the International Cooperation Department at the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, made the remarks in an interview with China Daily.
To date , TCM has been promoted in more than 180 countries and regions, and the Chinese government has signed high-level cooperation memorandums with 83 countries, Wang said.
A great number of these countries fall under the Belt and Road Initiative, a vision President Xi Jinping put forward in 2013 to boost interconnectivity and common development along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads.
“The centers will better meet local demand for TCM services and products among the public and also help with to promote TCM abroad,” she said.
To finance the initiative, the central government launched a special fund last year with primary investment of 20 million yuan ($3 million).
Wang stressed that the fund is not a charity program.
She said the centers will be based on the various needs for TCM in different countries and will require local partners.
These partners could include hospitals, research institutions and the overseas pharmaceutical industry. “It all depends on the demands and various practical situations in these countries, including the legal status of TCM,” she said.
About 300,000 Chinese TCM practitioners are working worldwide, according to the administration. The international market for TCM products and services is valued at $50 billion.
More than 10,000 foreigners arrive in China each year to learn TCM. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province are their top destinations.
Gao Sihua, former president of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said the university has held many short-term TCM training courses for foreigners. “They are mostly interested in techniques such as acupuncture and massage,” he said, adding that China still lacks professionals with a good command of both TCM and English.