Chinese doctor jailed for calling traditional medicine ‘poison’ issues apology
Tan Qindong, an anaesthesiologist, had been jailed for three months for his criticism of a cure-all tonic targeted at retirees
A Chinese physician who spent almost 100 days in jail for criticising Chinese traditional medicine has issued an apology for not thinking clearly.
Tan Qindong, an anaesthesiologist in Guangzhou, emerged as a public hero earlier this year for going up against a traditional Chinese medicine company over its marketing of a tonic to Chinese retirees. He was detained for three months before being released on bail in April, in a case that sparked outcry among Chinese doctors and the general public.
Hongmao Pharmaceutical, the maker of the tonic, said in a statement on Thursday it is dropping its lawsuit against Tan. The doctor published an apology earlier on Thursday for not thinking clearly about the words he used in a December essay describing Hongmaos tonic as poison.
After research, our company decided to accept Tans apology. At the same time, our company withdraw the case from Liangchengs public security bureau, and withdraw the suit from Peoples court in Liangcheng county, Hongmao said, referring to the county in Inner Mongolia where the company is based.
In Tans December essay, which circulated widely on the social media platform WeChat, Tan cautioned that the curative abilities of Hongmaos tonics were unclear at best and could actually harm those with diabetes or high blood pressure.
Hongmaos medicinal liquor contains more than 60 kinds of herbs and animal products. It is advertised as a cure for everything from rheumatism to kidney dysfunction, joint pain, and Alzheimers disease.
Chinas traditional Chinese medicine industry is growing, with support from the central government, even as it has come under scrutiny from researchers.
Tans case is also a rare win for public opinion and criticism of close links between local police and businesses. Tan was detained at home and taken more than 1700 miles to Inner Mongolia. He was charged for violating a little-used part of Chinas criminal code that bars the fabrication or spread of claims that seriously damage a companys reputation. But a Chinese court ordered his release.
After his release Tan told Caixin, a Chinese financial news publication, he did not regret writing the article or going to prison, It taught me how to interact with all sorts of people, and also taught me how precious freedom is. Ive learned to cherish the present … I suppose this was just one of lifes trials.
Still, Tan appears to have suffered from the experience. Last week, his mother posted on the microblog Weibo that Tan was suffering from PTSD and had been hospitalised.