The Man with the Qi

His spiritual movement has galvanized millions in China. But Li Hongzhi has more on his mind

The tall man with flashing brown eyes sat in a Manhattan apartment and chatted about wheels and extraterrestrials. As an associate translated, Li Hongzhi, 48, discoursed with TIME's William Dowell on the manipulation, for physical and spiritual betterment, of circles of internal energy called qi. Suddenly, however, conversation veered to a topic Li has thus far broached to none but his inner circle: aliens on earth. "One type of alien looks like a human but has a nose made of a bone," he confided; others resemble ghosts. The extraterrestrials, who arrived circa 1900, have not been idle. "Everyone thinks that scientists...

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