Lizzie, a 26-year-old office worker in Beijing, struggled to dispel dangerous myths her parents harbored about health and medicine. Lizzie’s parents, a construction worker in rural northeastern China, treated her childhood fever with chicken bile, a traditional Chinese medicine, and stuck a clove of garlic up her anus when she had diarrhea.
Lizzie later realized that the only way to shake her parents’ faith was to visit Dingjiangyuan (or DXY, short for “lilac garden” in Chinese), an influential health information provider widely trusted by the Chinese medical community. Had to send WeChat article from. DXY’s social accounts, which have at least 30 million combined followers, address everyday health issues and examine popular myths with animation, illustrations, and conversational text. Lizzie said the post was easy for her parents to understand. “They don’t believe my words, but they believe these WeChat accounts,” she said. rest of the worldShe speaks under a pseudonym so she can freely discuss sensitive issues.
The growing demand for reliable health information in China has led to a booming online medical industry. Tens of thousands of doctors have become social media influencers, with millions of followers at their peak. DXY, which also offers a wide range of medical services including online consultations and a physician platform, is valued at more than $1 billion and funded by investors including IDG Capital and Tencent.
But earlier this month, DXY’s accounts on multiple social platforms were suddenly suspended. Chinese censors regularly shut down online accounts for violations ranging from obscenity to displaying wealth to promoting cryptocurrencies. In this case, regulators gave no reason for the suspension, but it came after accounts hosted by the site questioned traditional Chinese medicine, specifically its use to combat COVID-19 — something like what the Chinese government promotes.
Until its accounts were shut down, DXY was a rare, authoritative voice to criticize traditional medical practices like treating colds with a ginger drink or not eating cold foods during your period. And not to rain a month after the birth of the child. In April this year, his account published an article warning that lianhua qingwen — a traditional Chinese remedy recommended by the government — has not proven effective in preventing the disease from COVID-19. The article was later removed.
Chinese nationalists have branded these posts as inflammatory to attack the company. Chinese President Xi Jinping is a strong advocate of traditional Chinese medicine, and the treatments are considered an important part of Chinese culture. “The tension between Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine has existed since the introduction of modern medicine in the 19th century. That’s not surprising,” said Yanzhong Huang, Senior Fellow of Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. defined as war between
DXY and others influenced by the doctor have created TikTok-style videos about common ailments and health hacks.
Public health issues have been politicized in the country during the pandemic, as blame for the outbreak on the United States and its rejection of Western vaccines has become a symbol of patriotism in China. Some critics of DXY have also accused him of supporting LGBTQIA rights and feminism – which they see as dangerous Western ideology – as his reports have criticized conversion therapy and recommended vasectomy as a reliable method of birth control. Of.
Many Chinese are struggling to find reliable health information online as search engines and social apps are rife with misinformation and deceptive advertising that have led to deadly scams in the past. In recent years, that gap has been hammered out by private healthcare companies like DXY, as well as an army of doctors. They make TikTok-style videos where they talk about common ailments, health hacks, and the lives of medical workers. In return, doctors make extra money from more patients and product placements, according to Zhang Dalong, head of Xiongxiaoying, an influential agency that manages the social accounts of more than 20,000 doctors.
Actions on DXY are likely to increase self-censorship among health professionals seeking to secure their influential careers. Zhang said his agency advised doctors not to criticize traditional Chinese medicine or engage in discussions about political and business interests.
Although DXY’s services are widely used among Chinese doctors, few have spoken out publicly after their accounts were suspended. A concerned doctor who requested anonymity over fears of being recognized by online critics, Weibo suspended his account for 15 days after defending DXY in a recent post. “This has created fear in the promotion and recognition of science,” he said. rest of the worldThe doctor said he would be more cautious about criticizing traditional Chinese medicine in the future.
Lizzie, who shared the DXY link with her parents in rural China, is eagerly awaiting the accounts’ return. The popular post has convinced her parents to change their eating habits. And Lizzie said that thanks to DXY, her 52-year-old mother first learned she needed to be screened for HPV infection and adhered to the one-child policy, which was put on an IUD two decades ago and later became away. Menopause.
“DXY is aimed at our parents and people in rural areas with little medical knowledge,” she said. “It is designed to serve the most ordinary and down-to-earth people. It’s not an easy task.”