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China, France to Jointly Develop Traditional Chinese Medicines

The governments of China and France signed a landmark cooperative treaty here Thursday to set new standards for traditional// Chinese medicine (TCM) expected by practitioners to help in the fight against AIDS and cancer.

The two countries will cooperate in academic and clinical TCM research, setting new standards for TCM products in line with western medical practice and developing new TCM products, said the document signed by Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.

"TCM is useful for treating cancers, AIDS and other serious diseases, and is indispensable in disease prevention, health care, treatment and recovery," Gao said.

TCM, considered an alternative medicine in many Western countries, has attracted foreign patients because of its perceived ability to alleviate AIDS and cancer symptoms and improve their life quality. It has millions of followers in China because of its effectiveness and its low cost compared with Western medicines.

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that France is ready to use its expertise in modern medicine to make TCM safer, more effective and to bring it into line with modern medical practices. France has had a total of 47 Nobel laureates, 8 of them are in the medical field.

China has now signed 26 cooperative agreements on TCM with foreign countries or international medical organizations, and more than 70 medical treaties with foreign countries including cooperation on TCM.

TCM, which has a 3,000-year history, has a unique system for diagnosing and curing illness, fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. Typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine and Qigong exercises.

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