Diabetic boy, 7, dies after TCM slapping therapy

A boy died in a hotel room on Apr 27 while attending a health seminar in Sydney.

Seven-year-old Aidan Fenton was found unconscious and later pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics failed to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

BBC reported that Fenton's mother had signed the diabetic boy up for an alternative therapy workshop conducted by the visiting Chinese healer Xiao Hongchi.

Attendees paid AU$1,800 (S$1,900) for the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) seminar held at the Pan Health Medical Centre from Apr 22 to 28.

BBC added that the New South Wales police are investigating the boy's death and whether he had stopped taking insulin and only relied on the alternative therapy to manage his condition.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Chinese therapist left Australia after he was interviewed by the police as part of standard procedure for an unexplained death.

The alternative therapy practised by Xiao, "PaiDaLaJin", involves slapping parts of the body repeatedly until bruises appear, and stretching the body in order to cure illnesses.

He says that "PaiDaLaJin" clears the patient's meridian system from blockages, promotes the circulation of 'qi' and purges toxins from the body.

However, medical experts in China have expressed doubts over Xiao's claims that his alternative therapy helps the body to self-heal and cure all diseases.

In Sep 2012, China's state media Xinhua ran an expose on the shady practices of Xiao who is not a certified medical practitioner.

It uncovered how the ex-investment banker became a 'God of medicine' in the country within the short span of two years.

Xiao had written books on the alternative treatment that became bestsellers in China and Taiwan.

He also set up numerous clinics across the country run by his disciples who taught patients how to use "PaiDaLaJin" to cure chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

A Chinese reporter who attended one of the workshops to verify the miraculous claims made an alarming discovery - patients were asked to stop taking medication for their conditions and to fast for three days.

The credibility of Xiao's alternative therapy was also diminished by many accounts of patients' conditions deteriorating after receiving the treatment.

In addition, he was fined TWD$50,000 (S$2,200) by Taipei's Department of Health and deported from Taiwan five years ago for conducting a series of health workshops in the city without holding a medical licence.

Sina News reported that in recent years, Xiao has been promoting the therapy in the US, Germany, India, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

According to Xinhua, Xiao's lucrative business in China generated about 180 million yuan (S$39 million) from book sales and health seminars in 2011.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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