Young doctor to challenge fasting record
SHIJIAZHUANG, May 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Another Chinese doctor is attempting to break the world record by fasting for 53 days and, if possible, eating and drinking nothing for two more days, according to a local newspaper based in this capital of north China's Hebei Province.
Wu Xinggang, a 33-year-old Chinese herbalist, began his challenge in a double-layer, 18-square-meter glass box in a mountain in east China's Shandong Province, on April 29 and is being closely monitored by the local notary office and media.
Wu's attempt follows that of Chinese doctor Chen Jianmin who finished a questioned 49-day fast on May 7 to break the record of 44 days set by American magician David Blaine.
A Manchurian, Wu said his ancestors were doctors who had servedthe imperial family. When he was a child, he was taught by a master living in the same village to learn Chinese martial arts and he himself studied Chinese medicine from his father.
After his graduation from middle school, he began self-taught courses on psychology offered by the elite Beijing University, ranmartial arts training programs in Langfang City, in Hebei, and opened a gym.
Wu said he had researched China's traditional regimen methods for many years and had developed his own doctrine.
He said he felt hungry in the first three days of the fasting but adjusted to it very soon. In his glass box, he had a computer,a telephone and daily use items like bedclothes. He slept eight hours a day and was so far in generally good health condition.
Chen Jianmin was the first Chinese to attempt to break the 44-day fast record of magician David Blaine, who achieved the feat suspended above London's River Thames in a glass box.
Chen at 50 was older than Wu and was a second-generation doctorof traditional Chinese medicine. He began his fast on March 20, consuming only water and no food and emerged 49 days later at least 15-kilos (33 pounds) lighter.
But some experts cast doubt on Chen's 49-day record, saying he could have hidden tiny food tablets under his fingernails, of which observers were unaware. The doubt came because Chen did traditional Tai Chi exercises to keep fit, which would have made his caloric needs too high to be sustained without food intake.
Chen was from Luzhou City in southwestern Sichuan Province, andhe said before climbing into the glass box suspended 14 meters in the air in March that the fast would "attest to the regimen of traditional Chinese medical science." Chen told people that he hadundergone long-term fasting on three previous occasions in 1987, 1994 and 1999.
According to Chen, he relied on the art of "bigushengong" or "the magic of fasting," as documented in ancient Chinese medical literature or Buddhist scriptures. According to Liang Chao, a gastrointestinal doctor with the Chengdu Chinese Medicine University, "bigushengong" resembled a legendary practice in the Hindu discipline of yoga, in which people were buried deep underground for long periods without suffering any harm.
Blaine was reported to have suffered severe palpitations and breathing difficulties in the final days of his quest and was told he would not be restored to full health for around six months. Hisfast was reportedly condemned by critics as pointless and dangerous. Enditem