Chinese Medicine in Crisis


Chinese Medicine in Crisis
New policy Consequences
The Republic of China, 1911-49
Sun Yat Sen & the early years under Mao: Chinese medicine to be purged and replaced by "correct" parameters of western scientific medicine. Though Chinese medicine strongly supported by population, further progress ceases. Younger generations educated to view it with suspicion.
The early years of TCM in Communist China, 1953-58
Rather than ban TCM entirely, Mao Tse Tung instead decided to reform it by purging all elements deemed to be superstitious and non-scientific. Traditional physicians were asked to train 2000 "first-rate" western physicians, formerly hostile to TCM. These latter physicians were then expected to help implement a reformed version of TCM nationwide and in foreign countries. High failure rates in this accelerated, greatly simplified curriculum. 10% who did graduate had merely rudimentary understanding of TCM.
Graduates of the abbreviated, simplified training program became administrators of newly established TCM colleges. Experienced traditional doctors were barred from primary healthcare in clinics/hospitals.
    Next-generation TCM college graduates styled Dx entirely in Western terms, sporadically including cookbookish Chinese med Tx.
The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76
Remnants of capitalist and traditional elements purged from culture, education, and daily life. Education at all levels suffered, resulting in a generation of ignorant youth without skills who ridiculed erudite learning of all kinds — later to be known as the "Lost Generation".
    Old master practitioners of Chinese medicine were publicly criticized, humiliated, and physically abused. Some were interned in concentration ("re-education") camps.
    Many physicians frantically burned their traditional texts to avoid persecution; others died from grief or physical abuse; much of the physical legacy of Chinese medicine perished irretrievably.
TCM "improvement" by methodology research: the era of scientism, 1980-??
Communist party apparatchiks mandated sanctification of the "scientific character" of TCM by applying several fashionable theories from Western science, including cybernetics, systems science, and information theory. Much of this research was peppered with non-sensical jargon, obfuscation, and lack of tangible results that served only to further erode the reputation of TCM.
Research of new patent remedies to be performed solely according to the standards of Western pharmaceutical research. Dozens of new journals arose to publish the deluge of pharmaceutical-style research, mimicking medical journals in the West.
Textual research and commentaries on classics of Chinese medicine no longer received government support. Students of TCM conformed to the new scientistic standards and abandoned efforts at learning traditional methods, including pattern diagnosis, tongue inspection and pulse palpation methods.
The call for a Renaissance of Classical Chinese Medicine??
In 1991, a group of eminent and influential Chinese physicians issued as impassioned plea for reform and a restoration of classical medicine. In 1999, scholar-practitioner Heiner Fruehauf published his article on the Crisis in TCM, which included the 1991 plea for reform, and slowly, over the next decades a worldwide trend had been established among concerned scholars, teachers of Chinese medicine.
    A small number of schools worldwide began to focus on teaching traditional pattern analysis accompanied by study of classical texts.