Qigong master Wang Lin under scrutiny for 'seven crimes'

Allegations against Wang Lin include fraud, bribery and tax evasion, Jiangxi authorities say

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 4:18am

Self-proclaimed qigong master Wang Lin faces investigation for seven crimes - ranging from fraud to bigamy - authorities in his home province of Jiangxi told local media.

Government officials suspect Wang, 61, of bribery, firearms possession, tax evasion, gambling and practicing medicine without a licence, as well as fraud and bigamy, the Jiangnan City Daily reported.

The officials spoke after a special meeting to discuss Wang, who has been come under fire for using his controversial spiritual practice to cosy up with powerful figures and pursue an extravagant lifestyle.

He became a hot talking point after state broadcaster CCTV aired two investigative programmes. The anchorwoman called him "a vulgar magician" who made a living by "deluding celebrities and pulling the wool over the public's eyes".

Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily has accused Wang of using qigong - an ancient breathing exercise and self-cultivation technique - to peddle "spiritual opium" to wayward officials.

Others, such as Wu Zhihui, a business executive from Pingxiang, Jiangxi , say Wang illegally practiced medicine, The Beijing News reported.

Wu told the newspaper that Wang invited him to his home to treat an unidentified dark mark on his face. Wang then performed his qigong technique for about five minutes, uttered some words and asked Wu to drink a glass of pre-prepared white-coloured liquid.

As payment, Wu gave Wang a red envelope containing 60,000 yuan (HK$75,400) in cash and received no receipt or prescription.

"But the spot on my face has not improved in two years," Wu was quoted as saying.

Additionally, an unidentified source at the special meeting of officials accused Wang, who gained permanent residency in Hong Kong in 1995, of "never paying a cent in taxes in Jiangxi", even though he used to spend most of his time there, the Jiangnan City Daily reported.

Last week, The New York Times ran an interview with Wang, in which he said he had fled to Hong Kong to avoid arrest stemming from what he called a political vendetta.