Vice Premier Wu Yi called for innovation in the field of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) at the TCM International Science and Technology Cooperation Conference held in Beijing Wednesday.
Wu asked relevant institutions to promote innovation in TCM and to rejuvenate TCM by "moving with the times".
She also underscored the importance of studying TCM theory and said China should enhance its protection of TCM's intellectual property rights and set up proper criteria and rules for accessing the TCM market.
Chinese government has always attached great importance to the development of TCM, and its development was promoted alongside the development of Western medicine, according to Wu.
Long before the advent of modern medical science, the Chinese had developed comprehensive theories about the treatment of illnesses. The first Chinese medical classic - The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine - dates back to between 403 B.C. and 221 B.C.
Remedies made from natural ingredients, such as wild plants and animal parts, and simple tools such as acupuncture needles were used by TCM doctors to treat patients.
About 3,000 hospitals in China provide TCM treatments to nearly 234 million patients each year.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2007)