Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a treasure of Chinese civilization, and is certain to benefit the well-being of the people all over the world if it spreads globally. Both Tu Zhitao, director of the Administration of TCM in Beijing, and Francesc Cardellach Lopez, president of the Medical College of the University of Barcelona, spoke on the potential of TCM in an interview with China.org.cn while attending the 2017 China (Beijing) International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS).
Since 2012, the TCM sector has been one of the main areas of focus and a promoted industry at CIFTIS. Not only has CIFTIS managed to present the culture of TCM, but it has also built a bridge to facilitate international cultural exchanges in TCM.
It is not the first time that Tu has taken part in an event such as CIFTIS. According to Tu, the TCM sector at this year’s CIFTIS is different from previous fairs in five aspects. For one, it has highlighted the Belt and Road Initiative and made the commercialization of service-oriented TCM further stand out. It has also brought about deeper cooperation within the fields of culture, tourism, education and science and technology. In addition, it has made a greater variety of TCM healthcare products available and has brought into prominence services provided for overseas Chinese.
Tu expressed hope that TCM can step up its pace in going global through further participation in events such as fairs in coming years, and strengthen ties with the countries along the Belt and Road, enabling a more mature mechanism in which governments set up the stage and enterprises put on the show.
Lopez, who was taking part in the fair for the first time, described it as “impressive”, and expressed his excitement at being able to attend such a grand spectacle. Meanwhile, Lopez said he hopes that more people will focus on friendly cooperation and exchanges between Beijing and Catalonia.
In terms of international cooperation in TCM, Tu was one of the officials who signed on with the industrial park project of the European TCM Development and Promotion Center in mid-May when he attended parallel sessions aimed at strengthening policy communication and strategic links at the “Belt and Road” Summit Forum. The signing of the project heralded the start of a creative period in TCM international cooperation.
While speaking to journalists, Tu explained some features of the project, including the fact that it is a project jointly signed by Beijing and Catalonia. By relying on Beijing’s high-quality resources, the project is aimed at promoting cooperation with Barcelona in medical treatment, education and technology. In Barcelona, Beijing will construct a TCM treatment center with accommodation for 20 patients, marking the first TCM wards installed in a governmental hospital in the EU. The signing of this project is the result of the substantial implementation of the framework agreement signed at the 2014 CIFTIS, and indicates that the European TCM Development and Promotion Center project has gotten off to a strong start. Meanwhile, Beijing and Catalonia will cooperate to achieve official EU recognition of master education of TCM.
Lopez is fascinated by many of the aspects of the industrial park project of the European TCM Development and Promotion Center, especially by cooperation in education. The University of Barcelona has already made it one of its key research projects and set up a TCM project for master students, making great contributions to disseminating Chinese culture and deepening cooperation between Beijing and Catalonia.
This project marks the start of a creative mode in TCM cooperation. Now, the development of TCM has been elevated to the level of a national strategy, which provides the best available development stage for TCM in its efforts to go global. However, TCM is also faced with great challenges in the course of its growth.
Tu said that TCM has run into some legal barriers in its efforts to go global, such as the right to prescribe Chinese medicine, as well as restrictions relating to its use. Meanwhile, issues relating to trade barriers and cultural identity are also items on the agenda waiting to be solved.
Even as TCM is faced with challenges, it is still necessary for it to go global and enter foreign markets. Anything that benefits human health should be encouraged worldwide, Lopez added.