Zhang Wuben, a once-popular Chinese diet therapist, who claimed that the combination of mung beans and eggplant could cure almost all diseases, has been found to have faked his medical qualifications - cashing in on false but expensive health consultancy and a best-selling diet book. It is reported that his clinic Wubentang in Chaoyang district has been torn down. After the issue, the General Administration of Press and Publication will scrutinize books that offer health advice to ensure that the information they offer are accurate.
Officials with the Ministry of Health said that the nutritionist qualification of Zhang Wuben, 47, a retired textile worker from Beijing, had been faked. The announcement came a day after an urgent inspection by health, industrial and commercial watchdogs of Zhang's clinic in the city, leading to the closure of his clinic, Wubentang.
There were few patients at another clinic where Zhang practiced as a health experts on weekends. An employee said Zhang was on vacation.
Zhang quickly rose to fame after his debut appearance on a television talk show - Baike Quanshuo, or "the encyclopedic talk" - in February to discuss health issues, and his book on diet theory subsequently generated a lot of buzz throughout the country.
Zhang claimed that many of the world's chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure, even some cancers, can be cured with a large dose of mung beans, white radishes and eggplant.
Nationwide sales of his book on food therapy, Cure the Diseases You Get from Eating by Eating, including DVDs, have surpassed 3 million.
His pithy formula is "the best doctor is yourself. The best hospital is the kitchen. The best medicine is food - the best curative effect can be achieved by persistence in food therapy."
The Wubentang clinic and Zhongyan Health Home had been crowded with patients, many of whom come from outside provinces, as Zhang has become a recognizable figure.
A standard consultation with Zhang, which normally lasts 10 minutes, was priced at 300 yuan, and the next opening for one of those consultations was in 2012. But patients can pay up to 5,000 yuan to skip the wait and receive an emergency session.
A patient surnamed Chen paid 5,000 yuan for a consultation, but it wasn't until later that she realized the prescription was identical to that given to at least 10 other patients. The remedy? "Chinese yam and corn," Chen told the Beijing Times.
"Zhang has no medical background. His theory is only a superficial understanding of conventional TCM theory. The public should seek advice or treatment from authorized and reliable medical agencies or professionals instead of only reading healthcare books," Said Fu Yanling, a professor at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.
(Translator & Editor: 21英语 Aaron AND Lily)