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Gansu health chief courts controversy over TCM tactics

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

13:26, June 08, 2012

Liu Weizhong, director of the Gansu Provincial Health Department (GPHD), is the subject of widespread public suspicion and mockery after reports about his unorthodox methods of promoting traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) were circulated in the media.

He earned the nickname of "pig trotter director" among Web users after advocating the health benefits eating pig trotters. Also recently, he claimed medical staffers at nine provincial-level hospitals were successfully relieved of symptoms of unnamed illnesses after receiving TCM treatment.

The staffers practiced a breathing exercise similar to tai chi and qigong, for nine days to stimulate their blood circulation and invigorate their body.

The news sparked controversy about the effectiveness of the training, with many regarding it as suspicious.

The breathing exercise has been cited in the past as helping cure more than 80 diseases including hepatitis B, cancer and pneumoconiosis, the Beijing News reported.

In February, the GPHD called on all medical staffers in Gansu to learn the exercise. Liu reportedly urged medical staff to favor it over prescribing medicine to treat patients.

Despite all these controversies, Liu appears to be more determined than before to continue to promote the ancient medical practice that he believes is a cheaper and simpler alternative to Western medicine.

He triumphantly announced the news on his Weibo microblog about the Ministry of Health's (MOH) public support on May 31 of Gansu's "innovative exploration in TCM practice."

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