Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region are forcing some residents to take Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), allegedly to treat symptoms of coronavirus, the Associated Press (AP) revealed this week.
TCM is an umbrella term for Chinese natural health treatments, such as herbal teas, acupuncture, and meditation. The CCP has co-opted TCM in recent years to market a pseudoscience-based medical industry that generates huge sums of money for the Communist Party. By the end of this year, the CCP expects its brand of TCM to expand into a $430 billion industry.
Some local Xinjiang residents told the Associated Press (AP) this week that CCP officials forced them to take TCM while in government-mandated quarantine for coronavirus “despite a lack of rigorous clinical data proving it works.” According to a medical expert interviewed for the report, this forced medication of residents represents “a breach of medical ethics.”
Xinjiang is known as the home of some of China’s ethnic minority populations, including Muslim Uyghurs, who face immense pressure from the CCP to assimilate to the region’s ruling, ethnic Han Chinese culture. In Xinjiang, rising ethnic tensions have seen the CCP enforce an extreme system of repression in recent years in which Muslim Uyghurs are forcefully detained in concentration camps where they must undergo CCP political indoctrination. Many Uyghur survivors of the camps have reportedly endured or witnessed slave labor, torture, rape, forced abortions, and killings.
One Uyghur woman “detained at the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak” told the AP this week that she was “forced to drink a medicine that made her feel weak and nauseous … After over a month in detention, the Uyghur woman was released and locked into her home. Once a day, she says, community workers force white unmarked bottles of traditional medicine on her, saying she’ll be detained if she doesn’t drink them.”
A Han businessman in coronavirus quarantine in Xinjiang since mid-July told the AP in its report published on August 31 that CCP authorities “still haven’t let him out,” despite testing negative for the virus. The man told AP that “he, too, is being forced to take Chinese traditional medicine … including liquid from the same unmarked bottles as the Uyghur woman, confirmed in images from both seen by the AP. He is also forced to take Lianhua Qingwen, a herbal remedy seized regularly by U.S. Customs and Border patrol for violating FDA laws against falsely claiming to be effective against COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus].”
“None of these medicines have been scientifically proven to be effective and safe,” Fang Shimin, a Chinese former biochemist and writer now living in the U.S., told the AP. “It’s unethical to force people, sick or healthy, to take unproven medicines,” he added. In the face of legitimate criticism, the CCP drafted legislation this summer that would criminalize speech “defaming or slandering” TCM.
CCP officials claim that “the participation rate in traditional Chinese medicine treatment has ‘reached 100 percent’ in Xinjiang, according to a state media report cited by the AP. In the report, when the Chinese government was asked “about resident complaints that they were being forced to take Chinese medicine, one local official said it was being done ‘according to expert opinion.'”
Xinjiang’s latest coronavirus lockdown reached its 45th day on Monday.
“More than half of Xinjiang’s 25 million people are under a lockdown that extends hundreds of miles from the center of the outbreak in the capital, Urumqi,” the AP reported, citing Chinese state media reports and government notices. CCP authorities claim that they have been forced to shut down a large swath of the region in response to “826 cases reported in Xinjiang since mid-July, China’s largest caseload since the initial outbreak.” During the extremely strict lockdown, CCP authorities have shut residents inside their homes for weeks at a time. People caught trying to escape government-mandated quarantine have been handcuffed to buildings as punishment.