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The “Four Big Families” of Falun Gong: madly amass wealth, ruthlessly exploit disciples

Recently, the “Shen Yun” group performed at the Morrison Center in Boise State University, Idaho, USA, to collect money. Ticket prices for the show ranged from $80 to $150. To make full use of the show, the group put out books, videos and streaming media services for sale at entrance of the performance site. The variety of ways to make money was really amazing.

Li Hongzhi collects money through “Shen Yun Performance”

Li Hongzhi will stop at nothing to make money. In the early stage of spreading Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi accumulated a lot of money by way of “curing diseases” and holding training courses. Since then, by printing a large number of books, audio tapes, video tapes, VCDs and so on, Li had cheated a huge amount of money and evaded a large amount of taxes. Li Hongzhi owned several luxury houses and cars in Beijing and Changchun, living a life of luxury.

Goods purchased by Li Hongzhi in Beijing
Cars, houses and high-end consumer goods purchased by Li Hongzhi in Beijing

Nowadays, on the Falun Gong websites, Li Hongzhi sells openly a complete set of “Fa-teaching” books, audio-visual products and worship sandalwood at high prices, ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan.

Books openly peddled on Falun Gong website

After fleeing abroad, the “Shen Yun Performance” became the most powerful tool for Li Hongzhi to collect money.

The “Shen Yun Art Troupe” of Falun Gong put on hundreds of performances a year. As the average ticket price is between $50 and $150, it is roughly estimated that the “Shen Yun Performance” will bring in revenues of $60 million for Li Hongzhi. More performances, more income. And money like water flowing into pockets of the “Master”. Li Hongzhi has repeatedly stressed that “our ticket prices should be in line with the income level of the social elite”, and that “the lowest ticket price shall not be less than $500 in any city”. A reporter from Brazil’s “the Forum” magazine News Network published a commentary article, pointing out that the ticket price of the “Shen Yun Art Performance” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, ranged from 468 to 1,050 Brazilian Reals (about 613 to 1,375 yuan). After watching the performance, the audience complained of being deceived. It turned out that the show was a cult performance with low quality and high price.

Another way for Li Hongzhi to make money was fundraising (or soliciting donations). In Taiwan, for example, when Falun Gong recruit members of “Friends of Shen Yun” (FSY), it openly asked for money: To become an original member of FSY, you had to donate NT 5,000 to NT 50,000 yuan, and the total membership fee amounted to about NT 20 million yuan. According to the “Tax-Exempt Organization Income Declaration Form, Year 2017” published by the American Non-profit Organization Income Declaration Network, the item of “Shen Yun Art Troupe” plus “Donations and Grants” totaled up to nearly $9 million. Of course, the money mentioned-above all went into “Master” Li Hongzhi’s pocket.

Because of the poor quality, vulgar contents and extremely low attendance of “Shen Yun Performance”, Li Hongzhi asked disciples to go out and sell tickets, but the sales were still flat. Since “not done well, so many tickets unsold” and the “Master” didn’t allow any discount, the disciples had to buy high-priced tickets themselves, and then gave the tickets away for free. Here was just a small case of how Li Hongzhi exploited his followers.

Li Hongzhi is the founder and behind-the-scenes boss of “Shen Yun Performance”, and his wife Li Rui works as the financial director of “Shen Yun Art Troupe”. It’s very clear that the Li family is the real controller of this “Art Troupe”.

The other three “big families” also greatly amass wealth, following their “Master’s”

As the saying goes, “Like father, like son.” High-level disciples of Falun Gong have been badly influenced by the “Master.” Working side by side with Li Hongzhi for years, they see with their own eyes how the Li’s family madly accumulate wealth. “Monkey see, monkey do,” these disciples’ means of amassing wealth are equally ruthless and insatiable.

As we all know, the “four big families” of Falun Gong are headed by Li Hongzhi and his family, the other three “big families” including: Ye Hao, Zhang Erping and Tang Zhong. These “four big families” control the “Shen Yun Art Troupe “, the “Buddhist Society”, and the “Epoch Times” media, and so on.

The “four big families” try every means to put money into their own pockets. First of all, by holding “high subsidy” posts, the huge funds of the Falun Gong organization have continuously flowed into pockets of the “four big families”. Ye Hao’s family is in charge of the “information discourse power” of Falun Gong, and the political and huge financial support of anti-China forces is pumped into Falun Gong organization through the “Buddhist Society” controlled by Ye Hao. The Ye family controls the personnel of the “Buddhist Society” system, using money and “official positions” to attract senior figures of Falun Gong in various countries as their wings. Zhang Erping’s family also goes all out to “make money.” Almost half of the funding from the American Foundation for Democracy goes into his own pocket, less than half of the funds is really used for Falun Gong affairs, and no one knows where the rest of the money goes. Some disciples estimated, the Zhang family had “earned” at least $2 million in the past few years (before 2014).Zhang Erping’s father-in-law, Chen Rutang, is the director of the “Shen Yun Art Troupe” and the conductor of the team band; and his mother-in-law, Chen Ningfang, is the leader of the team band. These are all lucrative positions. In short, Zhang Erping, holding positions such as the “Falun Gong spokesman”, the “chairman of Falun Gong International Human Rights Commission”, has turned his family into a real “money-making” machine. Tang Zhong, founder of the “Epoch Times” and former president of the cult media, controls the “political lifeline” of Falun Gong organization. Donations received by the “Epoch Time Foundation” also have to go through Tang Zhong’s hands and, of course, he spares no effort in taking advantage of that.

By occupying the position of “person in charge” of each project, the “four big families” exercise absolute control over all kinds of funds, collecting donations from “Dafa disciples”, generating income from website advertisements, and peddling the audio-visual copyright of “dance contest” and “vocal music contest”, and do whatever they want, to accumulate wealth and at the same time, tightly control the whole Falun Gong organization.

Since Li Hongzhi requires disciples not to question or supervise, it makes easy for the “four big families” to fatten themselves, and each family has made a lot of money. For example, according to a report from the Overseas Chinese Times, in 2001, Ms. Cai Xilin, a Canadian Chinese, was defrauded of $50,000 by Li Donghui, the younger brother of Li Hongzhi, in the name of “printing a batch of Buddhist statues, books, banners and slogans” and “building a training base”. There is no doubt that a few people are at the top of the food chain, sucking blood under the arrangement of Li Hongzhi. And they rely on the “donations” of grass-roots disciples for their wealth and prosperity.

For ordinary Dafa disciples, they have been mercilessly exploited and suffered a lot

Members of the “four big families” are all holding important positions with dramatic powers, living in big houses, driving luxury cars and living a high life. In order to “fulfill” their dreams, ordinary disciples have to go to the streets and communities to “sell tickets.” They have to get up in the middle of the night to plug in leaflets and distribute materials. When they are sick, they cannot rest. Some even have to live in “refugee camps” with dozens of people in a small room. Li Dayong, a loyal disciple, did not hesitate to sell his own house for Falun Gong before his death. However, after he died of illness, his wife Liu Mingming could only live in a small rental house with tears bathing the cheeks all day long. According to an aged disciple, Falun Gong charges followers $2,000 to $3,000 for the so-called “refugee” status, and does not refund if it fails. When the money is almost running out, a group of Falun Gong backbone will hold a small meeting to discuss how to get more money out of the disciples.

Falun Gong media needs a lot of advertising salesmen. Li Hongzhi’s approach was to ask disciples to sell the newspaper voluntarily, making huge profits at zero cost. In order to reduce the operating costs, Li Hongzhi invented the title of “Falun volunteers,” allowing disciples to serve him free of charge. However, many disciples died of illness and suffered many casualties due to malnutrition, perennial fatigue, or lack of medical care. For example, Liu Jinan, a backbone disciple of North American Falun Gong Organization, accidentally fell into the ground on construction site of the “Longquan Temple”, and died as the result; Jiang Qinggui, a volunteer who drove an excavator on construction site of the “Longquan Temple”, died of illness on his way back to Taiwan; Han Zhenguo, the administrative director in charge of the civil engineering of the “Longquan Temple”, died of lung cancer; and Xie Chunyi, a man who had worked as a cement worker many times in the “Longquan Temple”, also died of illness. According to incomplete statistics, since 2006, more than 40 overseas Falun Gong backbone members had died of illness, and most of them were hastily buried after death.

Falun Gong key members who died
List of some Falun Gong key members who died of illness or accident

Actors of the “Shen Yun Art Troupe” were paid little by their “Master”. “In fact, it is a matter of finding a hotel to accommodate these (actors) of Shen Yun. Prepare some meals for them every day, buy a box lunch, or eat fast food.” In order to stop people from criticizing, Li Hongzhi, a man who was stingy to the extreme, claimed brazenly, “Well, the Shen Yun (performance) was losing money!” What a “poor monastery with a rich abbot” story! Then, people may ask, how did Li Hongzhi get more than ten luxury houses in the United States? Li Hongzhi’s family spent a huge of money on eating, drinking and merrymaking, where did their money come from?

Li Hongzhi luxury home in the United States
In 2017, Li Hongzhi sold his luxury home in the United States for $2.39 million

What a great gap between the rich and the poor! And how ugly a picture within the Falun Gong cult organization. The “four big families,” headed by Li Hongzhi, have vividly interpreted the old saying of “when a man becomes an immortal, his chickens and dogs can also ascend to heavens,” and by reading this article, people of the world will see clearly the shamelessness, greed, hypocrisy, as well as the bottomlessness of the Falun Gong cult.

Author: Chen Zhe

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