China Underground > Magazine > China Magazine > Rise and fall of the QiGong frenzy in China: when superstition and science collide

Rise and fall of the QiGong frenzy in China: when superstition and science collide

After the fall of the Gang of Four, Qigong represented an opportunity for China to find a cultural identity tested by the disastrous consequences of the Cultural Revolution that erased an entire cultural and relationships system.

Related articles: A Photographic History of Qigong and Alternative Medicine in China

Looking for its own way to modernization, China took a shortcut to scientific progress by mixing weird science and superstition, with grotesque and devastating consequences in the long run.

Between the late seventies and early nineties, Qigong was the hub of the Chinese way for the exploration of human limits through the development of special skills (Special Abilities, teyigongneng in Chinese). China believed and conceded a lot of resources to scammers and gurus of various kinds, which exploited popular belief and an inadequate scientific community, to promote a long series of fanciful beliefs, seminars, therapies, hospitals, clinics, and even weird military experiments. China was completely abandoned to Qigong frenzy, just to wake up in the worst possible way, suppressing the movement roughly. In any case, before the final tragedy of the Falun Gong – till 1999 the most popular qigong school in China, the history of these movements is punctuated by grotesque episodes. In October 1999 the government declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” that threatened social stability.

Making money writing health books it’s easy in China, especially if you’re a celebrity …

The 80s


Weird Science

Zhang Xiangyu

Rise and fall of the QiGong frenzy in China

Miaofengshan Advanced Qigong training, Beijing. The pot on the head should converge the universe force to strengthen the telepathy

In 1990, a woman master of Qi Gong, Zhang Xiangyu, pushed its influence to a peak with her performance in Beijing. Millions of “pilgrims” gathered from several provinces to see her and caused great traffic jams. When Zhang waved her hand out of a window of the third floor of the hotel, the “pilgrims” in the street cheered. Zhang claimed that she could talk with extraterrestrial beings and was able to cure every disease. She treated her patients with methods similar to those of witchcraft and demanded large amounts of money from them. Many patients became ill under her treatment and some of them died. In August, Zhang was arrested and accused of cheating. The exposition of her swindle weakened the cult of Qi Gong. Zhang was convicted in 1993 (from Paranormal in China, Wu Xianghong, March 1995,

Wang Lin

Wang Lin

Wang Lin, is a phony Qigong master, became famous for Qigong in the 1990s and he has been exposed by Beijing News in July 2013. Then, he fled to Hong Kong and he claimed to be the Chinese Snowden. He has been charged with Illegal medicine practice, bigamy, fraud, tax evasion, bribery, gambling, and illegal possession of firearms.

Pang Ming

Pang Ming (aka Pang Minghe) developed a medical system called Wisdom Healing Qigong (Zhineng Qigong, 智能气功) during late 1970. It was a synthesis of many supposed ancient lineages of Chinese healing practices.

YouTube player

Zhineng Qigong Instant Healing

Sun Chulin

Sun Chulin claimed to be able to change shape to materials with the power of the mind. She was considered by many as a living proof of the existence of SA. According to many Chinese sites, she was capable of accelerating the biological development of organisms by thousands of times.

YouTube player

The second part of the video is interestingly enough: Sun engaged in a sort of mystical ecstasy to grow a seed.

YouTube player
YouTube player

Qigong Master: Demonstration Of Power

The supernatural powers of Zhang Baosheng (arrested for fraud in 1995)


Jinyun Mountain Taoist Association had 30,000 followers, including business tycoon Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce firm, and pop singer Faye Wong. The aim is to restore kidney functions through massage. Li Yi, the founder of the Jinyun Mountain Taoist Association had been the focus of a police probe over an allegation of raping a college student. Li is the latest “grandmaster” exposed as a fraud

Abbot Lee Shao-Long Li of Jinyun Mountain Taoist Association during a lecturing.
This year its supposed magical properties have been questioned and were accused of fraud

Zhang Wuben, a once-popular Chinese diet therapist, was found by officials in May to have faked his nutritionist qualifications

Making money writing health books it’s easy in China, especially if you’re a celebrity …


Post Author


Forest rangers crack down on the largest wildlife animal trafficking in China

Hunan couple recycles 9 million of plastic bottles a year to send their sons to university


3 thoughts on “Rise and fall of the QiGong frenzy in China: when superstition and science collide”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks