TCM practitioners hit out at Wikipedia entry on acupuncture

TCM practitioners hit out at Wikipedia entry on acupuncture
PHOTO: Stock Unlimited

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have denounced the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia as irresponsible for branding acupuncture as a pseudoscience and its benefits as a placebo.

Acupuncture and TCM in general, according to its entry on Wikipedia English, are "fraught with pseudoscience" and not based on "widely accepted" scientific knowledge.

"The efficacy of acupuncture has been proven by history and it has been widely practiced in China and abroad," said Li Zhenji, vice-chairman of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies.

"It's irresponsible to list the medical technique as pseudoscience."

Statistics from the World Health Organisation show that acupuncture has been practiced globally in 103 countries besides China.

In 18 of them acupuncture is also covered under their health insurance schemes, which demonstrates recognition of its efficacy, said Li.

Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, has urged the Chinese government to promote acupuncture and TCM worldwide.

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She made the remarks while visiting the Medical History Museum of the Chinese Medical Association in Shanghai in November.

Li urged Wikipedia, which is based on user-edited content, to make immediate changes to its article on acupuncture.

TCM supporters have petitioned the Wikimedia Foundation, which operate the website, but a spokeswoman told the Beijing-based Legal Evening News that Wikipedia content is contributed to and edited by users.

She said the foundation would follow the issue closely but couldn't make any changes itself.

Liu Naigang, a veteran acupuncturist of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said the Wikipedia entry "won't change people's perceptions of acupuncture, particularly in China".

Each day, he receive nearly 30 patients seeking the therapy, he said.

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