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Retrial in Qigong 'Master' Suit

The High People's Court in Jiangxi province held a retrial on Tuesday in a case in which self-styled "qigong master" Wang Lin sued one of his former apprentices for 33 million yuan ($5.38 million).

The judge did not give the ruling after the trial on Tuesday.

Neither Wang nor the defendant, Zou Yong, was at court, and neither side presented new evidence. Attorneys for both Wang and Zou declined to talk to the media.

Wang has been in the public spotlight recently because of the many published photos of him hobnobbing with celebrities. His claim of "supernatural powers" has raised doubts among the public.

Zou, chairman of the Pingxiang-based Jiangxi Tianyu Fuel Group, had told the media that Wang does not have supernatural powers, and uses tricks to swindle money from his followers.

According to a report in Beijing Time, Wang's lawyer, Xu Yiquan, told the media on Monday that Zou was defaming Wang only because the two have had financial disputes.

Zou was ordered after the first trial to pay Wang 33 million yuan.

According to media reports, Zou had borrowed 23 million yuan from Wang on Aug 30, 2010. Zou paid back some of the money, but still owed Wang 13 million yuan until May 28, 2012.

Both parties agreed that Zou would give Wang his villa, located in Yijing Garden of Luohu district in Shenzhen, and worth 50 million yuan, after which Wang would give 37 million yuan to Zou.

However, on May 29, 2012, before Zou finished the house's transferal procedures, Zou asked Wang to pay 20 million in advance for the villa, and promised to transfer the house before July 5, 2012, to Wang Wu, whom Wang Lin had designated to receive the villa.

Wang Lin paid 20 million yuan to Zou that same day, but Zou didn't transfer the house to Wang Wu.

Wang Lin then sued to cancel the agreement and asked Zou to return the 33 million yuan plus compensation for lost interest.

The Pingxiang Intermediate People's Court ruled in the first trial that Zou has violated the agreement, and the house purchase and sale contract should be canceled. The court asked Zou to give 33 million yuan to Wang. Zou subsequently appealed to the high court.

Zou has said that he had paid 5 million yuan in fees to become Wang's disciple in 2009.

Jiang Haining, a lawyer from the Gaorui law firm in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, told China Daily he believes that because the house is real property, the case should be handled in the court where the property is located, not Jiangxi's local court.

"It should be within one year since the agreement was established that the prosecutor has the right to cancel the contract," Jiang said.

Tuesday's trial opened as health authorities in Jiangxi's Luxi county launched an investigation into Wang's alleged illegal medicinal practices.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Tuesday at an online interview that it has asked Jiangxi province to investigate the case and, if the province finds that Wang illegally practiced medicine, the commission will punish him.

China Central Television broadcast an investigative report on Wang on Sunday, describing him as a fraud who made his fortune by fooling celebrities and government officials.

Local authorities acknowledged on Monday that they will investigate Wang's practices.

Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou and Xinhua contributed to this story.