Before officially outlawing Falun Gong, Chinese officials had discovered, through long-term investigations, that Li Hongzhi had swindled a huge sum of money out of his followers. Li Hongzhi said that, “I did not get any reward in cash or material,” and “I have 100 million followers. I would have already become a billionaire if I get one yuan from each of them. But I demanded nothing from them.” Despite these claims, it was found that he made a vast amount of money by holding training seminars, selling books, video and audio tapes, as well as special outfits and mats in connection with Falun Gong. In addition, he also sold Falun Gong memorabilia such as pictures and badges of his so called law wheel. Li Hongzhi has refused to admit these hard facts.
The following picture of Li Hongzhi sitting on a lotus for meditation is an ordinary 5-inch photo, but it was sold for 10 yuan to Falun Gong followers.
At the end of 1980s, it only took 0.2-0.3 yuan to print such a photo
The addition of Li Hongzhi’s stamp made the very same photo more expensive. One such picture with the stamp on the back was sold for 15 yuan to Falun Gong practitioners.
Li Hongzhi, who was proud of his success at that time, was fond of taking photos and adopted the sale of his photos, a common source of income for cults, as an easy way to make money. He gained a lot of money by selling a number of his half-length or full-length pictures in various versions to his followers.