It appears that Li Hongzhi the leader of Falun Gong, a group Chinese officials refer to as an "evil cult," may have become a millionaire since his exile in the United States.
Hongzhi bought a house in New York shortly after arriving in US for $293,500 and then bought another home in New Jersey for $580,000 the next year. Together the two residences cost $873,000.00 reports The Independent of London.
Given the substantial rise in real estate values across the United States and particularly in the New YorkNew Jersey area, it is probable that Hongzhi's homes may have doubled in value.
This means Li Hongzhi has likely become a millionaire.
Not bad for a former army musician and clerical worker, who seems to have done much better marketing religion than making music.
The British newspaper did not disclose if the homes were paid for in cash or financed through mortgages.
But even if the Falun Gong leader borrowed money, considering the timing and appreciation of his investments he is a wealthy man.
The Independent also reported that the so-called "Living Buddha" claims that he "can move himself anywhere by thought alone."
Does this mean Li travels from house to house through telepathy?
Hongzhi also has made grandiose claims such as his supernatural powers "averted a global comet catastrophe and the Third World War."
What else would a responsible property owner and good neighbor do?
Less fantastic but perhaps a bit unsavory is how Hongzhi reportedly promotes an "'us and them' feeling among his devoted followers." And there is the less than "Buddha"-like and "unattractive beliefs he has about homosexuals and children of inter-racial marriages."
CultNews has previously reported Hongzhi thinks that that gays are "disgusting" and somehow a "black substance" accumulates within the bodies of gay men. "Disgusting homosexuality shows the dirty abnormal psychology of the gay who has lost his ability of reasoning at the present time," says Hongzhi. And one day he claims gays will be ''eliminated'' by ''the gods.''
Hongzhi also seems to be a racist. He has said that "mixed-race people...[are] instruments of an alien plot to destroy humanity's link to heaven." And that these interracial unions are somehow part of "a plot by...evil extraterrestrials."
Falun Gong frequently gets press by staging publicity stunts. This week one of Hongzhi's faithful shrieked like a "banshee" while Chinese President Hu Jintao of China stood with President Bush at the White House lawn during an official visit.
This month Hongzhi's followers also claimed that the organs of Falun Gong believers are being harvested by the Chinese government at hospitals for profit. Government and medical officials vehemently denied these allegations as "sheer lies."
Unlike the historic Buddha, millionaire Li Hongzhi lives in comfort while his humble disciples frequently make personal sacrifices and live meagerly.
Original text from: http://www.cultnews.com/?p=1944
(Cultnews.com, April 22, 2006)