"International Standard of TCM"
I want to express grave concerns pertaining the so-called "standardization", because it makes me very angry = emotional.
according to the information available to me, this apparently includes the so-called "knowledge base", a standard textbook in preparation, point locations have already been standardized, needling techniques (see WHO clean needling technique => I would NEVER volunteer to get a treatment performed based on that standard!), there is a "standardized nomenclature" and China is pushing to obtain ISO for standards for needles. Should these be approved, I could not publish anything during academic events/conferences, because I do not use standard locations, standard techniques and standard needles (neither do I use standard concepts nor are my patients "STANDARD PEOPLE"). Everything I might find/achieve will be labelled non-standard (more likely "substandard") and be treated accordingly. I do not know yet if there will be any penal regulations, but being kept out of the community, because of being "not standard", seems to me like a punishment already.
* Process of achieving standardization:
Well, the Chinese have a number of little tricks. Officially announcing a number of participants twice as high as the actual figure confirmed by attendees information from the staff at the reception. Calling for conferences, but give a false date! That prevents key persons to attend the conference in question. Or, they call for conferences (for example for university representatives), but DO NOT send official invitations. Thus, if the relevant representatives are to attend, they would have to take a vacation and pay everything privately (which would not be the case, if there were official invitations). Naturally, this too keeps people away from the decision making process.
Important conferences are held/hosted by China, but until very recently there have been no protocols, recordings, etc. of the relevant proceedings. This prevents people to check what has been discussed. And since the Chinese attitude toward free information does not need to be discussed here, believing statements by the Chinese appears to be a very risky business.
By the way, the WFAS website "seems" to offer information in a number of languages, but most of those pages are either empty, or, like the page about "acupuncture standardization" on http://www.wfas.org.cn/en/ are just loopholes. Clicking on the link brings you back to http://www.wfas.org.cn/, which is in Chinese. That too keeps all those out, who do not read Chinese.
To me this looks like the Chinese are not mature enough yet to be a "partner" in any international community, where people are supposed to have equal rights.
These are just a few examples to show how the "process of standardization", which should be attended by many people from various countries/regions are guided by false information and unfair practices implemented by the Chinese. Apparently, people from other countries do not speak up (maybe even do not notice?).
One exception: at the TCM Kongress in Germany 2011 one key executive mentioned, that "Europe will NOT let the Chinese get away with their one-sided decision making" and "although acupuncture etc. may have evolved in China, its future lies in the West". I particularly like that last remark.
For people from let's say Britain, Germany etc. that may be acceptable, because they adopted oriental medicine only recently (during the last few decades). If I may take the Japanese side (I spend already the larger portion of my entire life in this country), even though I am not a Japanese, I would like to point to the fact, that although oriental medicine has originally been brought to Japan from China, it has been in use in this country for 1500 (!!) years. Nothing in no culture or time period is used for this long without being shaped by the culture in which it has been implemented. Although the Japanese seem to be struggling to some observers with defining their own "uniquely Japanese" style, a lot of intellectual property has been developed here in Japan, or also in Korea, that is simply neglected in the "Chinese standards", which would, however, once adopted exert pressure on the Japanese practice.
Regarding the authenticity of "TCM", I would like to point to numerous articles published in the "Journal of Chinese Medicine" by people who are a lot smarter than I am. Like for example the article I am reading now "All Disease Comes From the Heart" (p. 26 ff) No. 90, June 2009. These and many other articles show, that TCM is much more a state-controlled, one-sided, filtered set of information that can hardly be called "traditional", particularly not when it cuts out a lot of "traditional" information.
* Standardization of needles:
Japanese swords are famous for being masterpieces of forgery. If you buy a kitchen knife made by a craftsman from Solingen steel, you can be sure to get a tool, that will make any cook happy for the next 30 years. What about a kitchen knife made in China? I prefer not to detail that here.
In the +30 years I have been practicing acupuncture, I have not yet seen any needles (or any other product for that matter) labelled "Made in China" I would call "well manufactured". I am only a third class practitioner with no extraordinary skills or knowledge, but personally I would not volunteer to be treated with Chinese needles - maybe even following the so-called "clean needling techniqu" (WHO, see above). Neither would any of my patients accept (not to speak of "enjoy") that kind of treatment. Which requires by definition nail-thick Chinese needles.
* There is a small town in southern Germany, Tuttlingen, in which the largest portion of surgical instruments used in the entire world used to be manufactured. Some companies manufacture parts/instruments for microsurgery that are so small, that you have difficulties to see them with the naked eye. And these parts are MOSTLY manufactured by hand! Those people are NOT interested in acupuncture and probably do not care about needle standadization at all. BUT ... Why not ask their opinion about the quality of needles made in Japan and in China? I think their answer would be quite clear - AND much more valuable than any input from China or the WHO for that matter.
But if the Chinese obtain their ISO standards, Japanese companies could be forced to abandon the production of their high-quality needles and produce "Chinese quality". The very thought makes me shudder.
* Personally I am against any kind of standardization in this field. To me, it just does not fit. And there are definitely too many different people in the world, that you could get away with a very limited number of poor quality Chinese standards.
What would happen, if somebody proposed, any particular interpretation of Beethoven's music should be standardized? Everybody plays it exactly the same way. THAT would definitely do NOT do any good to Beethovn' music in particular, music in general and, of course, the audience.
This is just my personal opinion. Some people on a certain forum said:
"see what happens as this unfolds." or
"I can't wait to see where this all leads."
BUT, if you wait until everything has been "democratically decided by an international body" = headed and controlled by Chinese democracy, it will be too late.
WHO is trying to standardize WHAT? AND for WHAT purpose?
I have the greatest difficulties imagining that current trends and possible future outcomes pertaining to "standardization" will do any good to oriental/traditional medicine, and/or mankind as a whole.
In high school days (a very long time ago) I had a teacher of German (my native tongue), who started his first lesson in our class with:
"Do not trust me. Consider everything I tell you to be a lie. Go home and check what I told you against the available evidence. Once that evidence is in line with what I told you, you may go ahead and learn/remember what I taught you. But not before then."
If anybody has only the slightest doubts about ongoing processes, please go and check the evidence. If there is any "evidence" from China, cross check it with evidence from other sources. And if you think, something may not be right, call upon your regional acupuncture society and/or administrative organization to make yourself heard. Maybe have that organization might raise its voice in the relevant meetings/conferences ...
(whenever I raise MY voice, I am designated a heretic ...)
I would like to see traditional medicine remain DIVERISIFIED (like the biosphere on earth) and therefore healthy. No monoculture (agriculture) I have ever heard of has been really healthy.
I would be very happy, if this did/does spark some interest in the matter.
Thank you for reading so far.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. (Gustave Flaubert)