Charlatan's misdeeds reflect ills of society

Updated: 2015-07-21 07:27

(China Daily)

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Charlatan's misdeeds reflect ills of society

TV grab taken on 29 July 2013 shows a CCTV program on Chinese qigong master Wang Lin, who has been placed under investigation for allegedly being involved in the kidnapping and murder of his apprentice Zou Yong. [Photo/IC]

Self-proclaimed qigong master Wang Lin has been placed under investigation for allegedly being involved in the kidnapping and murder of his apprentice Zou Yong a week ago.

His activities were first reported more than two years ago, when he was accused of practicing medicine without a license, possessing arms without a license, bribing officials and swindling people, including loan-sharking. He was even reported to have fled to Hong Kong to evade arrest for the crimes he was accused of.

Stories and photographs about his close relationship with a number of high officials, including some who are already in jail for corruption, and celebrities such as film stars, and television hosts and hostesses, went viral. However, to the surprise of many, police in his hometown Pingxiang, East China's Jiangxi province, said they couldn't find any tangible evidence to incriminate Wang for the alleged offenses.

As a result, many people assumed that his connections with important people made it impossible for the local police to conduct a genuine investigation.

But this time he is reported to have masterminded the kidnapping of his apprentice over a monetary dispute.

What is really shocking is that Wang could fool so many people, including officials and celebrities, into believing he had magical powers. The tricks he used such as conjuring up snakes are what charlatans normally use to fool people. And the stories about how he had cured some people of their serious diseases were often made up.

Yet even officials and celebrities, who are supposed to be knowledgeable people, fell for his tricks, and his fame and connections grew by the day. He used his proximity to celebrities and officials to establish more connections, extend his influence and deepen his coffers.

His "success" was phenomenal. It is difficult to know whether the majority of celebrities and officials really believed in his magic powers or just used his circle to widen their own networks for ulterior motives. Maybe it was just a game for both parties.

It is more than necessary for police to find out foolproof evidence not just of his alleged involvement in the criminal case, but also of all the crimes he has allegedly committed. The true story of how he accumulated his fortune could serve as a warning to people.