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Interview: TCM-Western medicine interaction full of promise: Prodi

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

15:41, May 14, 2012

BOLOGNA, Italy, May 12 (Xinhua) -- A dialogue full of promise between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine (WM) has started in Italy, former President of the European Commission and former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Prodi was the facilitator of the "Dialogue on Human Health between Traditional Chinese Medicine Culture and Western Medicine," the first high-level exchange between Chinese and European experts, which was hosted by Bologna University in central Italy on Thursday and Friday.

The former prime minister said he was very satisfied with the success of the conference, which brought together some 150 doctors and scholars to discuss for the first time on cultural-scientific basis about common ground, differences and possible integration between the Chinese and European medical cultures.

"This dialogue has begun in the most serious possible way from a real scientific confront between the two traditions," Prodi said.

He stressed promoting in-depth mutual knowledge was the aim of the meeting, in which participants included former Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China Xu Jialu and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli.

The conference had the special merit of casting aside some obsolete approaches to the TCM that have prevented it from being really known in Europe.

"For a long time TCM was either glorified or demonized. But finally the right moment has come to demythologize it," Prodi said.

"For this reason, I entrusted outstanding scientists the task of holding this first dialogue on scientific basis. And the result was exactly as I had expected it to be," he said.

Prodi hoped the Bologna meeting was only the first established step of a profound future interaction aimed at "joining best brains to achieve better results in the medical field for the benefit of human health."

"Despite not being an expert of the sector," he followed the two-day meeting with particular interest.

"What I especially appreciated was the serene attitude from both sides in analyzing common aspects and differences between the two traditions without trying to show any supremacy of one or the other culture," he said.

He added that future common problems shared by Europe and China, such as population aging, will further strengthen the need for the two medicines to build synergy.

Prodi, who is also an economics professor at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, noted that unfortunately Italy has still a too "fragmented approach" towards China, which in his view especially does not suit dialogue with the Oriental culture.

"In order to build friendship on solid basis, Italy needs to reason in holistic terms, as scientists here at the meeting would say," he said.


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