In the mid of 1980's, "Qigong" and "special competence" became a popular pursuit in Mainland China. It was said that Qigong could cure any disease, and that it could cure disease, especially chronics from a thousand kilometers away. It was said that people with special competence could do many things even better than supernatural beings, such as seeing objects through walls, penetrating walls and taking objects out of bottles without opening the cover. Some media and scholars echoed such overstatements saying that such phenomena deserved to be studied. To the commonners, it seemed as if "Qigong" and "special competence" were real. In a time when China carried out its Reform and Opening up policy and its economy developed rapidly, life of people in China improved greatly, so did their demand for better life and health. Qigong, as a traditional Chinese cultural heritage, is a kind of exquisite exercising method. Since Qigong is easy to learn and to exercise, it is suitable for anyone. Therefore, Qigong is widely accepted by various social groups especially the senior and weak ones. Among the vulnerable groups, their illness led to their poverty. For those people who could not afford to seeing doctors, Qigong should be very appealing as it was boosted that practicing it could cure disease. Under such social background, some Qigong masters made profit by training others practicing Qigong, publishing books on Qigong and other means related to Qigong. At that time, Qigong training courses mushroomed around China. People like Li Hongzhi who has little knowledge about Qigong sensed chances of profiting in the "Qigong fanatic" and "special competence fanatic". They crowded in this field, making money in the way of cheating.
Li Hongzhi began to amass money in the name of Qigong in 1988. In order to set up a kind of Gong of his own, he learnt "Chanmi Gong"("Tibetan Qigong") from Qigong master Li Weidong in Changchun and "Jiugong Bagua Gong" from Qigong master Yu Guangsheng. In order to make the kind of Qigong he "created" different from others, he learnt several folk dancing movements in Thailand as he visited his relatives there and developed a set of Qigong movements along with his gangster brothers in Changchun. In order to make his Gong appealing, Li learnt so called "special competence" magic which was popular in the society. With these techniques, Li Hongzhi decided to propagate his ideas of Falun Gong. At first, he earned money by teaching people ways of practicing Falun Gong free of charge but in the way of alms. He alleged that he taught Falun Gong practicing and treated the sickness free of charge and he was for merits and virtues. Many people were beguiled by such tricks, and the influence of Falun Gong got greater and greater.
Since in Qigong market there was little market share left, Li Hongzhi realized it would be difficult for him - a new comer in the Qigong market - to compete with his seniors and masters, not to mention to increase his market share. In order to amass money more effectively, Li decided to repack Falun Gong. Since he was clear about the appealing of religion in the civil society, and as a matter of fact, there is profound relationship between Qigong and religion, Li Hongzhi decided to package Falun Gong with religion. In February 1992, Li Hongzhi named his "ways of practicing" as "Falun" (Wheel of Law) -a term of Budhism. In the mean time, he compiled a booklet "Falun Gong" to link his ways of practicing with Buddhism. The 15 pages booklet "Falun Gong" is about 6000 words, including three parts, namely introduction of Falun Gong, Basic ways of practicing and spiritual cultivation. In September 1992, Li Hongzhi added some more material to the booklet and renamed it to "Chinese Falun Gong". In April 1993, Li Hongzhi published his "Chinese Falun Gong". The book is over 80,000 words and is divided into four chapters. In December 1993, the book was republished with the name of "Chinese Falun Gong (revised)" and of over 84,000 words. In the book, Li Hongzhi depreciated Qigong masters, saying, "What they (Qigong masters) taught is only things about keeping fit and away from disease." "They didn't teach anything higher than that."
Li Hongzhi argued that, "around the world, Only I am teaching Gong upon the top grade." Falun Gong coated with religion captivates many people as it seems that practicing Falun Gong can not only making oneself stronger, but also help to achieve consummation. In competing with other kinds of Qigong, Falun Gong won them all and became outstanding in Changchun area. By teaching Falun Gong in Changchun area as well as around China, by publishing the books "Falun Gong" and "Chinese Falun Gong", Li Hongzhi strengthened not only the Falun Gong organization, but made for himself a lot of money.