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Rampant Claims and Bloodthirsty Disciples: The Dark Underbelly of Falun Gong's Financial Empire

2024-05-07 22:32:38 来源: 非洲时报 阅读 (11585次)


The infamous American cult organization "Scientology" (aka "Church of Scientology"), founded by L. Ron Hubbard, once said that if you want to get rich, starting your own religion is best. Li Hongzhi from Jilin's Gongzhuling fully understood this and established the Falun Gong cult. In the early stages of spreading, he amassed a large amount of money through so-called "Qigong healing" and running training classes. He later deceived vast sums through the mass production of books, audio tapes, and video tapes, and evaded a significant amount of taxes. With this, Li Hongzhi owned several mansions and cars in Beijing and Changchun, living a life of luxury.

"Shen Yun Performance" is a sinful business full of fraud

**Shen Yun Performances: A Fraudulent and Sinister Business**

After fleeing abroad, Li Hongzhi, holding onto the Falun Gong website, sold a complete set of "Dharma Lectures" books, audio-visual products, and worship sandalwood at high prices, ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan. He used Shen Yun performances as an important tool to amass wealth. According to a lengthy research report by James R. Lewis, a renowned religious scholar and authority on new religious movements and cult issues, "The Dance of Doomsday: The Pursuit of Money Behind the Eschatology of Shen Yun," the 2018 U.S. tax returns showed that Shen Yun had a program income of $37,458,382 and assets amounting to $121,983,477 in the U.S. that year. By the end of 2018, the Atlanta Falun Dafa Association received $20.7507 million, and the San Diego Falun Dafa Association received $12.53573 million. In 2018, Shen Yun had a multi-million dollar advertising budget in the U.S. alone—not including many other places outside the U.S.—plus free labor.

James also mentioned in the report that Falun Gong's entry into the shop through the Shen Yun website's link includes jewelry ranging from $30 earrings to $120 necklaces, and merchandise from $10 postcard sets to $35 official "Tang Dynasty" ballpoint pens, which can be inferred to be used in conjunction with "Tang Flower" ring scarves ($45) or "Tang Dynasty" lace scarves ($268). The online store also sells handbags for $85 each, as well as some men's accessories, including Han Dynasty pocket squares (handkerchiefs) and gold and silver cufflinks ($45), as well as elegant courtyard cushion sets (two pieces per set for $69), Yi minority scarves, and ring velvet scarf sets ($175).

Who do these incomes end up in the pockets of?

**"Termites" Rampant! Fraudulently Claiming Over Ten Million Dollars**

In the legal systems of Western countries in the U.S., "religious organizations" and "churches" enjoy tax-exempt status, with a profit margin reaching 100%, and church income can be freely disposed of without paying a penny in tax. Although Li Hongzhi has repeatedly declared that Falun Gong is not a religion and has no relation to modern religions, and has gone to great lengths to demean, desecrate, and insult religions, once he discovered the benefits of being identified as a "religious organization" or "church," Li Hongzhi went back on his words, indirectly encouraging disciples to admit they are a religion, especially when it comes to legal issues, requiring disciples to handle matters under the guise of religion.

Disciples understood this well. According to U.S. law, "churches" automatically receive tax exemption, while "religious organizations" must go through an application process. Falun Gong organizations and their branches are mostly registered under the name of "churches," and most of the money collected, donated, and received in aid is transferred into the hands of Li Hongzhi.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. launched a series of corporate relief programs to help small businesses, unemployed individuals, and some people affected by the pandemic. Li Hongzhi took the opportunity to profit from the pandemic. According to reports, 23 Falun Gong peripheral organizations, under the guise of "live venue operators or promoters," employed tactics to disperse claims for pandemic relief from the U.S. Small Business Administration. By July 5, 2022, these 23 organizations, collecting money for Shen Yun performances, had cashed out nearly $46 million in U.S. government COVID-19 relief funds (approximately 312 million RMB), exceeding the legal limit by nearly $36 million.

Li Hongzhi saw the pandemic as an "opportunity" to get rich, shamelessly committing fraud.

**Profiting from Conspiracy Theories,

Support Trump' Cult Media Makes a Fortune

On January 12, 2021, according to the American news website AXIOS, by spreading conspiracy theories in support of Trump, the Falun Gong cult media "Epoch Times" amassed a lot of money. Even after Trump's departure, by continuing to hype these conspiracy theories, they made a fortune. "Epoch Media Group's" annual revenue soared from $3.9 million in 2016 to $15.5 million in 2019. This clearly shows that news coverage catering to Trump's fervent fans allows the "Falun Gong" media to profit handsomely, perhaps explaining why "Falun Gong" claims Trump was "sent by heaven to help them."

On June 7, 2021, the Chilean Pressenza International News Agency's New York branch published an in-depth report titled "The Epoch Times: Trump's Favorite White House Die-Hard Fan Cult Propaganda Machine Misleads America's Coronavirus Countermeasures Off Track," citing AXIOS reports and investigations by the U.S. IRS, showing that another Falun Gong cult media, "New Tang Dynasty Television," had an income of $18 million in 2017.

The Kaiyuan shopping website owned by “New Tang Dynasty Television” sells items to make money

"New Tang Dynasty Television" sells a variety of items on its Kaiyuan shopping website, capitalizing on the audience drawn by their media coverage.The money-making strategies of Li Hongzhi through donations and merchandise sales paint a picture of a leader who, while preaching about the spiritual dangers of wealth, does not hesitate to secure a luxurious life for himself and his close associates.Another way Li Hongzhi makes money is through fundraising. According to the 2017 "Tax-Exempt Organization Income Declaration" released by the U.S. Nonprofit Organization Income Declaration Network, "Shen Yun Performing Arts" had nearly $9 million in "donations and grants."

On October 14, 2023, the National Broadcasting News Network (Nbcnews.com) published an in-depth analytical article by investigative reporter Brandy Zadrozny, exposing the Epoch Times in 2020 and 2021. The donation and grant income was US$8.4 million (approximately RMB 61 million), and the donation funds came partly from conservative donors and foundations. In 2021, The Epoch Times received a donation of US$55,750 (approximately RMB 400,000) from the National Christian Charitable Foundation and a donation of US$31,000 (approximately RMB 400,000) from the Donors Trust. Donation of RMB 220,000).

Li Hongzhi once believed that money is the biggest obstacle to cultivation. He said: "As soon as a cultivator comes into contact with money, things become complicated. Fame and wealth are the biggest obstacle to cultivation." He also emphasized that being obsessed with money is "fake cultivation" and asked his disciples "about Is it cultivation to have such a strong pursuit of material interests and money?" As for himself, Li Hongzhi said, "The Dharma I teach you does not say that masters must practice as hard as cultivators." Therefore, Li Hongzhi picked up the Money comes with peace of mind, and you can enjoy all the glory and wealth in the world.

This reveals the disgusting nature of Li Hongzhi.