“Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine,” Mao told him, “I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine.”

Mao’s support of Chinese medicine was inspired by political necessity.  In a 1950 speech (unwittingly echoed by the Senate’s concerns about “providing health care to underserved populations”), he said:

Our nation’s health work teams are large. They have to concern themselves with over 500 million people [including the] young, old, and ill. … At present, doctors of Western medicine are few, and thus the broad masses of the people, and in particular the peasants, rely on Chinese medicine to treat illness. Therefore, we must strive for the complete unification of Chinese medicine. (Translations from Kim Taylor’s Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-1963: A Medicine of Revolution.)