Never too Late to Succeed with Standards

【Release time】:Jul,28th,2015    【Source】:


Li Zhenji,was interviewed by China Standardisation Press in July, 2015.  The report was as follows

Encountering Chinese medicine


Li Zhenji was assigned to the Beijing College of TCM (later BeijingUniversity of Chinese Medicine) after graduation in 1970 as one of the exchange students echoing the national initiative calling for the integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicine. Since then, he started his career as a clinical doctor.


With excellent professional skills, Li Zhenji engaged in management work after 15 years’ clinical practice. He was first appointed to be the Vice-President of Dongzhimen Hospital, and five years later, he undertook the Vice-Commissioner of present China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS). In 1994, Li Zhenji was transferred to the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM)and responsible for scientific research and education management.Two years later, he became the Vice-Commissioner, paying more attention to foreign affairs. Li Zhenji was very active in promoting foreign exchanges, and always pondered how to better develop TCM from international perspective.


Due to the fast development of TCM, there was increasing demand for it across the world. An idea was put forward to establish an international organization on TCM on the occasion of a meeting held at the China Association of Chinese Medicine in 1997. Li Zhenji took charge of the work and endeavored to make it happen. It was not until the year 2003 that the State Council approved the proposal to establish the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies, which was officially set up on September 25. Undertaking the Vice-Chairperson and Secretary-General of WFCMS, Li Zhenji stood on a higher position to look further ahead.


 Fresh start with standards


At the beginning of 2003, the central government put forward the“three strategies of talents, patents and technical standards” to cope with the opportunities and challenges after China entered the World Trade Organization. Various industries also attempted to combine the three strategies with their own development.


With keen career sensitivity, Li Zhenji spared no efforts in planning the development of Chinese medicine. Standards, however, was only a noun for him at that time. Therefore, how to correctly understand the standards strategy and use it in TCM became a tough problem for all TCM practitioners.


In March, Li Zhenji attended a training session in the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC. During his spare time, Li Zhenji went to the library searching for relevant books on standards. There, he was enlightened so much by Introduction to Standardization, a fundamental and important book in the standardization field written by prominent standardization expert, Li Chuntian.


As reading books in the library, Li Zhenji thought deeply and took down his thoughts. In the 3-month training, he wrote four papers including one titled “Promoting the international dissemination of TCM with standardization strategy”. The paper first outlined the blueprint of TCM standardization in China, which was of great significance in the standardization development of TCM later.


Li Zhenji was highly praised for his planning of TCM standardization by the leaders of the then AQSIQ and SAC, and with his promotion, SATCM has subsidized 3 million yuan ayear for standardization program to conduct research projects. Being the pioneer in promoting standardization, Li Zhenji insisted on working in the front line for the development of TCM



Reaping the benefits

“Learn to fight from the war”, Li Zhenji cited the well-known saying of late Chairman Mao, and summarized his experience about standards as “learn, research and practice”. Starting from zero, Li Zhenji has been working at the forefront, and led the construction of a complete standards system of TCM in China.


Li Zhenji outlined the blueprint for the standardization of TCM in 2003. However, after retirement from SATCM in 2005, he had indeed started the practice of TCM standardization.


In 2005, WFCMS set up the standardization department to start the research project of standards with the aim to establish the framework of standards system on TCM under his guidance. The research group spent the toughest first two years in searching for information, and finally finished the book Research on the Construction of Standards System on TCM in 2010. In addition, a batch of talents on TCM standardization was therefore cultivated through the project.


Having a good start, Li Zhenji and his fellows had more confidence in exploring deeply in the standardization. From 2006, WFCMS has undertaken a series of research programs from Minister of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, SATCM and AQSIQ, for instance, studies on the construction of traditional Chinese medicine standard system, Chinese medicine standard specification, Chinese characteristics and advantages in the development of international standardization activities and demonstrative study on international standard draft etc. These projects have made fruitful achievements including the diagram of standards system, regulations for standards development and revision as well as industrial, national and international standards.


At the National Standardization Working Conference in 2013, Li Zhenji received the“Outstanding Contribution Award of China Standard Innovation and Contribution Award 2013” co-organized by AQSIQ and SAC. He considered the award a kind of responsibility to do more and think more for the standardization
of TCM.Li Zhenji has paved the way for the development of TCM standardization in China, however, he expands his horizons and strives for a bigger stage.



Big role on international stage


Led by Vice-Chairperson and Secretary- General Li Zhenji, WFCMS has grown into a big international organization with 239 group members from 65 countries and regions across the world after 12 years.







Taking specialty committee as one of its priorities, WFCMS has established 79 specialty committees targeting at academic development, discipline construction and talencultivation. WFCMS boasts top domestic and foreign experts on TCM, and has issued 14 international organization standards in two aspects, namely basic standards and management standards.


WFCMS also focus on TCM talent cultivation by the development of World Standard of Chinese Medicine Undergraduate (Pre-CMD)Education, World Classification Standard for Professional Titles of Chinese Medicine Doctors etc.


Besides talent cultivation, Li Zhenji also emphasizes close relation between WFCMS and other international organizations for promoting the development of WFCMS and TCM as well. WFCMS has established official relationship with WHO, and became a NGO member of WHO. It is the A Liaison of ISO/TC 249, Traditional Chinese medicine set up in 2009 with SAC undertaking the Secretariat, providing technical support to WG 5 on informatics of TCM.


Li Zhenji takes charge of the contact with foreign experts and delegations as the Chair of International Advisory Committee of TCM Standardization, communicating with foreign experts and delegations at ISO meetings. The renowned annual World Congress of Chinese Medicine provides a platform for worldwide experts to communicate with other and propose good ideas for the development of TCM.


Though at an old age, Li Zhenji is still active in the promotion of TCM cause, who never stops his standardization practice.


(The author is from China Standardization Press.)