We often hear the saying about a rich abbot in a poor temple and this is certainly true of Falun Gong. The news about Li Hongzhi’s mansion on www.kaiwind.com has aroused considerable attention from Internet users. This mansion, which is located in New JerseyI was sold at a price of 2.39 million dollars (RMB 16.14 million Yuan). In fact, Li Hongzhi has eleven mansions of this sort in the United States.
In other words, Falun Gong’s 25-year history means a miserable experience for followers, who lose both money and their lives, but an exciting experience for Li Hongzhi who has amassed enormous wealth from the suffering of his followers. I’ll share the details here.
Organized tutorial classes to amass the “first bucket of gold”
Li Hongzhi started to preach Falun Gong in May 1992. He organized Falun Gong’s first training class in the lecture theater of Changchun No.5 Middle School on May 13, 1992. This training class lasted for ten days and ended on May 24. Each of the 180 trainees paid 30 Yuan and Li Hongzhi earned a total amount of 5400 Yuan. With this handsome income, Li Hongzhi organized the training classes for another 56 occasions across the country and earned more than three million Yuan from May 1992 to the end of 1994.
Some may claim that 30 Yuan isn’t a large amount, but you may not be aware that people’s salary in China was rather low in the 1990’s. Li Hongzhi was short of money too. An example can help you understand this. Li Hongzhi organized a tutorial class in Guanxi County, Shandong Province in November 1992. According to the agreed distribution of income, Li Hongzhi could get half of total income, but after the tutorial class ended, he demanded a higher proportion of the money. One of his followers said: “Look, the Master’s clothes are so worn out. Give more so that he can buy some new clothes.” Finally, he got 180 Yuan more even after the distribution ratio of 30:70 was adopted. As a matter of fact, when he started his cult-preaching career, he wore shabby clothes, ate instant noodles on the train, stayed in taverns at a daily price of 60 Yuan, or even 40 Yuan. But he could earn as much as three million Yuan within a period of two and a half years. So we can say that he got rich overnight. His experience taught him to build up his family fortune by exploiting his followers’ tears and blood.
Made big money through books and Fa-teaching
Li Hongzhi collected the lecture notes used in his previous tutorial classes and published the book Zhuan Falun at the end of 1994 after these lecture notes were polished by others. This book signalized the birth of Falun Gong’s doctrine. In 1995, he realized that it was very risky to teach his followers to practice Falun Gong through organizing the tutorial classes: after all, quite a few followers died on the site where he tried to cure them of their diseases through Falun Gong. This made him extremely embarrassed, so he decided to teach the “Law of Dafa” and sell books.
In his Fa-teachings, Li Hongzhi required that all followers should read and even recite Zhuan Falun and claimed that the book is a “ladder to heaven”. In his words, “this book has profound meanings. If you can read it ten thousand times, the book can guide your practice of Falun Gong until you achieve the 'final consummation’”. His book is filled with fallacies as well as ambiguous and illogical concepts and illusory images. But this book became the best-sellers for his followers. He has an additional trick to make money: Zhuan Falun, usually priced at 12 Yuan, can be as expensive as 100 Yuan once autographed by Li Hongzhi. What’s more, the followers can only use the words “request book” rather than “buy book”.
Master Hou Baolin used a similar example of cross-talk: Buy Niche for Statue of Buddha. In fact, Li Hongzhi’s sales of Zhuan Falun proved to be a more satirical experience.
In Fa-teaching, Li Hongzhi asked his followers to discard their attachments to fame and money. In the book Abstinence for Practitioners, he said that“your attachment to money means that you aren’t a real practitioner, and you’re actually ruining Dafa. No matter how long you have practiced Dafa, you’ll go nowhere.” He even required that Falun Gong’s instruction offices should save no money and Falun Gong’s practitioners should put no money aside. Once a follower asked: “I want to save some money for my children’s future education, and so that I needn’t worry about them when I achieve the final consummation”. Li Hongzhi answered that he was “responsible for everything about you. You needn’t be worried about it. Can you be able to deal with it?” (Fa-teaching on Lantern Festival of 2003) In this way, Li Hongzhi, as a master, robbed his followers of all their money.
Before the Chinese government declared a ban on Falun Gong according to law, the illegal organization "Research Society of Falun Dafa" arranged the publication of 19 kinds of Falun Gong books, as well as lots of Falun Gong-related audio-video products and other objects like practice uniforms, practice cushions, Falun badges, scrolls, streamers and Li Hongzhi’s photos. With a total value of 135 million Yuan, Falun Gong earned an illegal income of more than 42.29 million Yuan. To evade taxes, Li Hongzhi asked his bookkeeper Liu Guirong to set all the financial records on fire.
After Falun Gong was banned, Li Hongzhi started to sell his books, compact discs and practice objects on Falun Gong’s website, at an extremely high price. He created “Tianti Books INC” in America and Canada. The bookstore’s name implies that the followers can obtain the ladder to heaven by reading his books, buying his practice objects and practicing Falun Gong. It’s really hard to have accurate statistics about how many followers have been cheated and how much illegal income has been gained.
Organized a cult performance to make money from foreigners
After the Chinese government banned Falun Gong on July 22, 1999, Li Hongzhi organized some Falun Gong projects abroad. “Shenyun Performing Arts” is one of the projects. To make money, Li Hongzhi acted as its General Director and later the so-called “Art Director”. As we all know, Art Directors usually enjoy a high reputation in the entertainment industry. Whenever a troupe is mentioned, the audience and outsiders are always reminded of the art leader. Li Hongzhi wears a pair of sunglasses to become an “Immortal of Sunglasses”. With the nickname of “D.F.”, he assumes a disgusting look as if he is covering up something.
According to Falun Gong's media, “Shenyun Performing Arts” is “very successful” and “sells very well”. Li Hongzhi targets the performance at mainstream society and high-level people, so the show is highly priced. “This show is worth $500”. Because followers are responsible for ticket sales and the performances, the related costs are very low. “In fact, we can find a hostel to assign all the performers to stay at. Every day we prepare some meals for them or buy box lunches or fast food.” (Speech at the tenth anniversary of Fa-teaching on www.minghui.com. ) “Shenyun Performance Art has an annual cost of several million dollars” to say the most. (Fa-teaching in New York in 2010) But he has claimed that “Shenyun Performance Arts suffers a loss.” (Fa-teaching in New York in 2010)
As the saying that there's a rich abbot in a poor temple goes, a main portion of the performance income has been seized by Li Hongzhi. We have no ideas about the specific amount, but he must have made substantial profits. Otherwise, how can Li Hongzhi have eleven mansions in America? How can he and his big family enjoy a decadent life in America?
Cheat people to make donations and lose lives even without repayment
Of course, Li Hongzhi is ever-ready to accept the “alms” from western countries, just like a begging dog. According to Panduo Daily Website, the U.S. Internet news & media commentary website, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors offers financial support of $1.5 million for the technical institutions run by Falun Gong’s members each year.
Followers' donations are another important source of Income for Li Hongzhi. For instance, Lin Yiming, Falun Gong’s leader in Macao, makes an annual donation of over one million yuan to Falun Gong. He was found to have hematochezia in the second half of 2014 but, cheated by Li Hongzhi’s fallacy of “eliminating karma”, he refused to see a doctor at hospital. In April 2015, his disease got worse and he was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer. He still rejected the doctor’s proposal for chemotherapy and insisted that he should “eliminate karma” by practicing Falun Gong. He worshipped Li Hongzhi very much. On May 13, 2015, he went to attend “Fa-teaching in New York”. Li Hongzhi took the chance to cure his disease by “using his power” and claimed that he had eliminated Lin’s “karma” and “demons”. Tragically, he died of cancer on August 2. After Lin passed away, Li Hongzhi asked his followers to keep the news secret, so no mourning ceremony was held.
Another case is that of Kuai Hongbin, a practitioner obsessed with Falun Gong in the United States. Her husband Jiang Shanhua used to run Sanfeng (三峰时代公司) Times in New York, and had more than 1300 employees in the production facility with a total area of about 30,00 square meters in China. The company was China’s state-level silk producer and supplier. After Kuai Hongbin went to the United States, her husband used his own company to produce Falun Gong’s practice clothes and cushions and donated those clothes and cushions to Falun Gong for sale and use. He also provided performance costumes for Shenyun Performing Arts. His family business became almost simply another of Li Hongzhi’s sources of money, but Li Hongzhi’s “law body” didn’t protect Kuai Hongbin. She died of erythema atrophi at the age of 50 in New York on February 26, 2016.
As the saying goes, if you accept others’ money, you must remove their troubles. All the practitioners of Falun Gong join their minds and efforts to fatten the cult leader Li Hongzhi. He has cheated all the money out of his followers, but can’t remove their troubles for them. He can’t help them achieve “final consummation” and he even forces them to become penniless and homeless and lose their lives. So I persuade all the followers to see through Li Hongzhi in the shortest time possible.
(Executive editor: Song Zhou)