- Zhong Gong
Zhong Gong (中功) is a spiritual movement based founded in 1987 by
Zhang Hongbao. It is based on variations of Chinese breathing and meditation exercises known as " qigong", which seeks to channel the vital energy of body and the universe to various ends. The full name (中华养生益智功) translates to "China Health Care and Wisdom Enhancement Practice." It operated a nationwide network of schools and healing centers based on his particular brand of "qigong" before China outlawed it.
During the early 1990s, Zhong Gong became the most popular of the various "qigong" schools, but rumours concerning Zhong Gong started to surface.Craig S. Smith, [http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/073100china-leader.html Asylum Plea by Chinese Sect's Leader Perplexes the U.S.] ,
New York Times, July 31, 2000] As controversy about Zhong Gong increased, Falun Gong group gained in popularity, eventually superseding Zhong Gong as the largest movement of its kind. In Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhiapparently refers to Zhang a "sham "qigong" master."
Zhang Hongbao claimed in 2003 to have about 38 million followers. Chinese cult critic
Sima Nansaid it is one of several qigong movements, larger than Falun Gong.Fact|date=March 2008
Its commercial activities were incorporated in China as the Unicorn Group (麒麟集团), a collectively ownership enterprise. In
Mainland China, it had numerous operations, branches, and staff. There were six subordinate divisions, including Qigong training, healthy living, travel, education, medical.
Banned in China
The government campaign began to lay ostensible emphasis on rule by law: a statute was passed in October 1999 with retrospective application to suppress "heterodox religions", thus legitimising the
persecution of Falun Gong, Zong Gong and any other spiritual groups deemed "dangerous to the state". Leung, Beatrice (2002) 'China and Falun Gong: Party and society relations in the modern era', Journal of Contemporary China, 11:33, 761 – 784] However, Zhong Gong has been much more low key than Falun Gong that the government crackdown on it is almost unknown in China.Philip Cunningham, [http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?eo20001230a1.htm Falling victim to U.S.-Chinese diplomacy] , The Japan Times, Dec. 30, 2000]
After China declared Zhong Gong an illegal organization, all its assets and those of the Unicorn Group were confiscated, and many of its principals arrested. A warrant for the arrest of leader Zhang Hongbao is issued. Zhang fled to United States, where he applied for
political asylum. He was not granted asylum, but gained Protective resident status in US on 13 June 2001.
Zhang died in the United States in a motor accident on July 31, 2006 at the age of 52. After Zhang’s death, due to the internal friction plus the loss of the attraction to his supernatural power, Zhong Gong almost disappeared from the public.
* [http://www.tianhuaculture.net/eng/b1.html Tian Hua Culture (Official Zhong Gong website)]
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