Idea to abolish traditional Chinese medicine rebuked
Updated: 2006-10-10 21:38

China's Health Ministry spokesman lambasted a netizens's controversial idea that traditional Chinese medicine be taken out the country's health care system.

"Traditional Chinese medicine is the essence of China and is an integral part of China's medical and health system," said Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the Health Ministry, who called people who support the idea "ignorant of history".

The on-line writer asked other netizens to support his plan which urged the health authority to take the traditional Chinese medicine out of China's national medical system. The writer suggested that Chinese hospitals only prescribe western medicines. Although the writer's original statement has already been deleted it continues to stir hot debate among Chinese netizens in other on-line forums.

Supporters of the proposal say they believe western medicine is more scientific and trustworthy, while opponents condemned the proposal as ridiculous and ignorant.

Spokesman Mao said traditional Chinese medicine has proven merit in history in protecting the health of Chinese people. "In modern times, it is still an important choice for us to cure diseases and ease pain."

Mao said the proposal showed people's "ignorance" of history and the key role that traditional Chinese medicine has played in the lives of Chinese people.

"We firmly object to such suggestions," he said. The ministry wouldn't comment further after Xinhua contacted it for further explanation.

Earlier reports show that traditional Chinese medical departments in China receive nearly 300 million visits a year.

The traditional Chinese medical industry, with a total production value of nearly 81.026 billion yuan (about 10.125 billion U.S. dollars), accounted for a quarter China's overall medical industry in 2005.

Mao said the Chinese government has helped develop traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine equally in China.

He said China's health authority will increase support to bolster the development of traditional Chinese medicine in the next five years. "There is no doubt that we will further promote traditional Chinese medicine."