In a recently published article in the New York Times regarding holistic health and alternative treatments, a Times journalist reported about the spread of holistic treatments in Hong Kong, China. Known in the large territory as “folk remedies,” holistic treatments and alternative remedies have always been used to treat minor illnesses, cleanse the body, and promote religious peace rituals. The rise of the use of the treatments despite the medical communities negativity toward them, however, has baffled some government entities and led to an increase in the production of anti holistic health literature and propaganda.
According to the New York Times article, the Hong Kong government has actually banned certain natural remedies that can be sold to its citizens via online naturopath websites and local shops. A Hong Kong physician who was interviewed for this article reported that the banning of these natural treatments has done little to reduce Hong Kong’s citizen’s use of the substances. The physician reported that he receives several weekly cases of patients who come into the hospital because they are ill after consuming these ancient Chinese treatments. The doctor also revealed that he and colleagues that he is in contact with are supportive of the legislation that suppresses the rights of the citizens to purchase these ancient treatments.
The ancient Chinese remedies and other holistic treatments may be against medical advice in China, but is only illegal in larger territories like Hong Kong. The physician interviewed for this article stated that patients who were advised not to consume these supplements or use illegal treatments often purchase them on their visits to mainland China and abroad. Speculation about heavier restrictions on air travel and gate access has caused concern in other countries. While Hong Kong government official would like to further legislate access to illegal substances and holistic Chinese treatment, government officials across China seem to be opposed to the idea. With reports such as the one discussed in the New York Times articles being frequent among Hong Kong physicians, however, legislative action could be imminent.