China has started the project of applying for the world cultural heritage for its traditional medicine. The plan for the program has drafted recently. The first step is to apply for the world's intangible cultural heritage to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hereupon refers to traditional medicine, related theories, practices and tangible resources of China's Han and minority ethnic groups, other than private medical skills or prescriptions held by an individual.
Shen Zhixiang, an official with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a team leader of the application program, said the TCM, as an intangible cultural heritage, is systematic, complete, documented, and widespread.
But although there are tangible heritages like historical sites, relics and documentations, the TCM as a whole is more about intangible ones like observation methodologies, knowledge, techniques of preparing herbs, and theories of recipes. So the TCM involved in the application is a concept in an extensive sense.
There is a long history of China-originated TCM spreading to the neighboring countries. Given this, Shen's administration began to consider the application as early as in 2003, make research on it and keep in contact with the UNESCO on this issue since then.
After that, the UNESCO agreed to make the TCM one of the programs in China's five-year plan for heritage application and China's Ministry of Culture also approved to include TCM into the country's first list of national intangible cultural heritage under protection.
By People's Daily Online