THE VULGAR MAGICIAN: Celebrity Chinese Spiritual Advisor Faces Investigation For Fraud

Wang Lin, a spiritual advisor to the Chinese elite, is in hot water after two documentaries on China’s state-run CCTV aired Sunday, alleging that he was a “vulgar magician” and that his health techniques were phony. Now Wang will face investigation for fraud and allegedly illegal health techniques, according to reports in Chinese media.

Wang’s fall from grace is all the more shocking due to the high-profile of his clients. Pictures published online show Wang with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, and a number of former members of China’s ruling standing committee.

Wang billed himself as an expert in qigong, a spiritual practice that has its roots in martial arts and Chinese medicine. While qigong itself may be relatively harmless and even growing in popularity in the United States, in China it remains controversial due to its link to the suppressed Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Moreover, Wang’s practice of qigong appears to have been unusual. A number of videos circulating online show Wang performing what might better be described as magic tricks. For example, here is a video of him performing a trick that shows “snakes” being created:

Wang has not responded well to media attention. “I am telling you, you will die miserably, and your family will follow,” he reportedly told a journalist from the Beijing News after an expose on him came out this weekend¬†alleging that¬†he had been sentenced to 7 years in prison in 1979 for swindling customers.

Wang may have a lot to lose from the investigation. Various media reports suggest he has bought a Rolls Royce, three Hummers, and a luxury villa with the money he made from qigong (see pictures of that villa here). He also once boasted of 70 green-card offers from US intelligence agencies, the South China Morning Post reports.

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