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Chinese herbalist fasts for 49 days

May 11, 2004 16:38 IST
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A Chinese herbalist has apparently broken the world record for fasting  set by American magician David Blaine  last year, reports the BBC. 

Dr Chen Jianmin, who emerged after spending 49 days without food in a specially built glass room, claims to be an expert on long-term fasting and used traditional Chinese methods to stay alive, drinking only water.

But one expert was quoted as saying that he could have survived on food tablets hidden under his fingernails, the BBC said.  Chen's calorie needs could not have been sustained without some food intake, he told the state-run China News Service.  Chen, while dismissing such claims, said he was planning another record fast soon.

Chen spent the seven weeks inside the glass room on top of a tower in the mountain resort in Yaan, Sichuan province. and his attempt attracted thousands of visitors to the resort. Some described him as an "oriental superman".

As for the widely reported payment of between 500,000 yuan (US$60,400) and 1 million yuan (US$121,000) from the Wanguan Group, Chen said he has not got any of it so far, said China Daily.  

"I only care that I have brought home to more people the amazing power of our traditional medicines," he said, insisting any individual living on traditional Chinese medical theories could have managed the same feat.

Doctors said that he was 15kg lighter. 

In October, magician David Blaine spent 44 days without food in a glass box suspended above the River Thames in London.  But unlike Dr Chen, he suffered verbal abuse and was pelted with eggs during his fast, the BBC said.

 

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