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March 11, 2010

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Promoting public health and TCM

GUO Tianling, vice chairperson of the Municipal Committee of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party

I was 11 when my father, a PWP member, was tortured to death for buying medicine and printing equipment for guerrilla groups in eastern Zhejiang Province and supporting revolutionary youths in liberated areas of Jiangsu Province.

It was the CPC and government that supported me until I graduated from university. I joined the PWP in 1981 and dedicated my traditional Chinese medicine practice, teaching and research to improving people's lives. Participating in government and political affairs has been an important part of my life.

In 1989 I was selected as a member of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of CPPCC and had greater access to information and greater say in making decisions to help people. At that time 35 percent of people over 65 years suffered chronic diseases, consuming 80 percent of health care expenditure, which was increasing faster than GDP growth.

At the same time the development of TCM was lagging behind. Confronted by problems of health care, I discussed the issues and successfully proposed expanding and improving the community health care network, as well as encouraging general practitioners and promoting TCM in Shanghai.

Today there is a city hospital of integrated Chinese and Western medicine (Yueyang Hospital) and three district hospitals of integrated medicine (Hongkou, Huangpu and Changning districts). The community health care network covers the whole city and has improved steadily. The Shanghai Consulting Committee of Traditional Chinese Medicine has been set up, with emphasis on passing along TCM heritage.

In 1997, as a member of Standing Committee of Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, I helped formulate the Regulation of TCM Development, which was implemented in 1998.

In 2003, the State Council issued regulations on protecting TCM, giving it unprecedented guarantees, as we had sought.

I continued my work in promoting and regulating development of TCM, and in 2002 suggested that the growth rate of investment in TCM should be greater than that of in general public health care. The proposal was discussed at the NPC, along with the need to preserve the records of famous TCM practitioners.

My efforts and those of others have contributed significantly to the development of TCM in Shanghai.

We need to treasure and pass on our cultural treasures and to improve people's lives. We should make the utmost efforts to keep the world peaceful as long as possible.

The reason I could fight on the political stage for the interests of the people and for traditional Chinese medicine practitioners is the leadership of PWP and the spirit of my father and other pioneers. I am now retired but I will always remember the motto of PWP - "Seek well-being for the people, and continue the work of protecting people's interests." Historian combines research, party work

Ge Jianxiong, a member of SCPPCC Standing Committee, former vice chairperson of RCCK Shanghai Municipal Committee and curator of Fudan University Library

I used to think, mistakenly that only highly respected intellectuals could be appointed to join democratic parties, and only with permission of the CPC. I also worried, mistakenly, that joining a democratic party might impose restrictions on my academic work and freedom of speech.

But I came to realize that democratic parties were actually an ideal platform for scholars to take part in political activities, to put their research findings into practice, to gain more information about the society, and to meet with many experts and leaders.

Today I am a professor of geographical history and curator of the Fudan University Library.

In 1999, I joined the RCCK. I was initially hesitant because I was born into a very ordinary family in 1945 and had no Kuomintang connection. I learned, however, that RCCK also recruits excellent persons from different segments of society who have academic accomplishments and a strong sense of responsibility.

I was told, "As an influential figure in academic circles and society, you have been doing research on Chinese history, Chinese culture and Sun Yat-sen's theory. You have frequent communication with many foreign friends and Taiwan compatriots as well. So you are the one we've been looking for."

I was elected vice chairperson of Committee for Reunification of Motherland and vice chairperson of the Sun Yat-sen Culture Communication Association.

In 2000 I was elected to the CPPCC Shanghai Municipal Committee and joined its Standing Committee in 2004. In 2006 I was appointed by the mayor of Shanghai as a government counselor.

Thus, I have easy access to the work plan information of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and Shanghai municipal government. I can meet government leaders, read relevant documents and join surveys and research.

I am an active observer and researcher focusing on everyday events and often make suggestions. I once learned of problems with the new underground parking lot at the Shanghai Railway Station and an extra 2 yuan (29 US cents) taxi pickup fee. I pressed for cancelation with the SCPPCC and eventually authorities agreed, taking management over from a foreign company and canceling the fee.

In late 2000, I took part in China's 17th Antarctic Expedition and recommended to national authorities that Shanghai should play a more important role in China's Antarctic research work. My suggestions were accepted, and we've seen a large increase in the budget spending for Antarctic research and research workers.

My academic work has also come into use in RCCK's party activities. Every year, I give lectures at Fudan University to delegations from Taiwan about Shanghai's development, Chinese history and culture.

My lectures are well received and I also deliver lectures around the world to promote understanding of China and Chinese culture.

I have also visited Qinghai Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region and used my knowledge of Chinese history, geography, population, migration and the environment to make suggestions for development of the area, on behalf of RCCK.

Facts prove that being a democratic party member and a leader has had no negative effect on my academic research and professional work. My book, "Population History of China" was awarded first prize for excellent research by the Shanghai municipal government and the Ministry of Education.


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