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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
China medic 'breaks fast record'
Chen Jianmin emerges from room
Chen said he survived using traditional Chinese methods
A Chinese herbalist has apparently broken the world record for fasting, set by the American magician David Blaine last year.

The doctor, Chen Jianmin, emerged after spending 49 days without food in a specially built glass room.

He claims to be an expert on long-term fasting and used traditional 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.

He told the state-run China News Service that Mr Chen's calorie needs could not have been sustained without some food intake.


The herbalist spent the seven weeks in a glass room perched on top of a tower in the mountain resort in Yaan, Sichuan province.

Crowds around Chen's house
The attempt attracted thousands of visitors to the region
He says he survived by using methods detailed in ancient Chinese medical literature and Buddhist scriptures.

His attempt attracted thousands of extra visitors to the resort and earned him the title "oriental superman".

Doctors said that he was 15kg (33lb) lighter when he emerged.

Mr Chen claims to have completed long-term fasts on three previous occasions, and is reported to be planning another record-breaking fast in the near future.

In October, David Blaine spent 44 days without food, in a glass box suspended above the River Thames in London.

Unlike Mr Chen, he suffered verbal abuse and was pelted with eggs during his fast.

Chinese doctor aims for fasting record
21 Mar 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Blaine walks free from box
20 Oct 03  |  Entertainment

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