China bans entry of Buddhist sect head from Australia

An Australian of Chinese origin who leads a Buddhist religious organisation has been banned from entering China for illegally collecting donations.

Chinese regulators have refused to allow Lu Junhong, founder of Xinlingfamen, or "Spiritual Dharma," into the country after labelling the group an "illegal-wealth amassing organisation," the Beijing News reported.

Authorities said the group illegally collected more than 6.5 million yuan (USD 950,000) from Chinese mainland followers between March 2010 and May 2015, state-run Global Timed quoted local media reports.

The Shanghai-born man immigrated to Australia in 1989. There he founded Spiritual Dharma in 2000, which promotes Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door and claims roots in Mahayana Buddhism. Lu leads more than 3 million followers, the report said.

Chinese authorities accuse Lu of collecting donations through illegal means without elaborating.

Before immigrating to Australia, Lu worked as a conductor at the Shanghai Changning Opera Troupe and Jingan Shaoxing Opera Troupe, it said.