Traditional Chinese medicine could play a bigger role in improving the health of people in the Belt and Road countries amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.
"TCM is a treasure of China and the whole world as well, and its efficacy has been well proven in the prevention and control of COVID-19," Tang Bei, an international relations researcher at Shanghai International Studies University, said at a seminar on medicine and international relations held in Shanghai on Friday.
"We should seize the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote TCM overseas so it can provide new solutions to global health and contribute to the building of a health community for all."
TCM has been extensively used in COVID-19 prevention and control in China. More than 90 percent of all patients in Hubei province, the hardest hit area by the epidemic in China, received TCM, either independently or in conjunction with modern medicine, and more than 90 percent of them saw their condition improve, according to official data.
Xie Laihui, a researcher on Belt and Road Initiative at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said TCM can play its unique advantages in promoting connectivity between people of different countries and promoting the building of a "healthy Silk Road" amid the global pandemic of COVID-19.
Qin Qian, an associate professor in international politics at Fudan University, said international TCM cooperation between China and Belt and Road countries faces many legal and trade barriers, including lack of unified standards and regulations on traditional medicine in these countries.
More research is needed to tackle these problems to promote internationalization of TCM, she said.
Song Xinyang, deputy director of the TCM International Development Research Center at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a co-host of the seminar, said with the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, cross-disciplinary research is urgently needed so TCM can contribute to the initiative in diverse aspects.
"The government should provide more support to cross-disciplinary research that involves TCM and other subjects, such as international relations, economy, law and management, so as to cultivate versatile talents, and promote application of research fruits."
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at increasing connectivity between different countries and regions via land and sea to boost trade and economic development.