Dispute on Preserving or Abolishing TCM: Justification of TCM


 Since western medicine was introduced into China in the end of the Qing Dynasty, there arose the disputes on preserving or abolishing of TCM for reasons of difference in academic background and cultural inheritance, conflicts of interests of various sides and some ulterior motives of some politicians. There were several climaxes of such disputes. The first was in the first year of the Republic of China (1911 A.D.) when traditional Chinese medicine was even excluded in the Medical Education Program promulgated by the government of the Northern Warlords, a government discriminating the traditional Chinese medicine. To show objection, a delegation from the circle of traditional Chinese medicine went to Beijing to present a petition. The head of education department of the Northern Warlords government not only refused to accept the petition submitted by the delegation but also delivered speech about abolishment of TCM. In the end, although the Northern Warlords government had to make concessions, it still refused to list TCM into the medical education program.


In the eighteenth year of the Republic of China (1929 A.D.), billows were stirred up again on the preserving or abolishing of TCM. On February of the year, the government held the first meeting of central health commission; and in the meeting, the Act on Abolishment of TCM to Clear the Obstacles of Health Undertakings submitted by Yu Yunxiu et all was passed. And a series of regulations discriminating TCM were stipulated, including registration within the specified time and prohibition of running TCM schools. The purpose was to eliminate TCM in China. After the promulgation of the Act, there were voices of opposition all over the circle of TCM of China.


At that time, Liu Yifeng, a member of the Beiping Association of TCM Industry, went to TRT for countermeasures. He said, “TRT has unparalleled influence in the circle of TCM. You take the lead and let’s present a petition and ask for justice for TCM.”


The reply of TRT is, “the government has so much discrimination on TCM. We can not just await death and do nothing. Petition is a must. But you should take the lead and we will definitely participate and try our best.”


Consequently, led by Liu Yifeng and others, TRT and representatives of petition from the medicine circle of Beiping went to General Feng Yuxiang, the then member of the central standing committee of Kuomintang, and submitted the petition of the Petition Delegation of TCM of China. As Xue Dubi, the health minister then, was the old subordinate of Feng Yuxiang, the view of General Fengyuxiang hence would play a decisive role. General Feng Yuxiang readily agreed to give full support for TCM.


Meanwhile, the TCM organizations from 15 provinces and cities of China organized a united delegation to go to Nanjing for petition and sent Chen Cunren and other four delegates to visit the highest authority, demanding that the government to cancel the act. Under the great pressure of the public opinion from all walks of life, Jiang Jieshi had to solve this dispute in person. He received the five delegates in a hurry and voiced his ‘absolute support’ for TCM. He said, “I always see the traditional Chinese doctor when I was young and now I often take traditional Chinese medicines as well.”


This short meeting ended within 5 minutes, but the five-people delegation didn’t fail their tasks and reached their aim. Hence they won the acclaim from the circle of traditional Chinese medicine.