On August 23, five members of Quannengshen (also known as the Church of Almighty God or Eastern Lightning) in China went on trial for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant, reportedly after she rebuffed their attempts to recruit her. World media such as AFP, AP, UPI, Reuter and Bloomberg have focused on it. Kaiwind.com quotes here for you.
Five members of a fringe religious group in China went on trial Thursday for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant, reportedly after she rebuffed their attempts to recruit her.
The group, whose name can be translated as Church of Almighty God, believe that Jesus has been reincarnated as a Chinese woman and refer to the Communist Party as the “great red dragon”.
It was outlawed by the government in the mid-1990s.
Earlier this month state media said 1,000 Quannengshen members had been arrested including “high-level organisers and backbone members”.
Similar numbers were held at the end of 2012, when the organisation was under the spotlight for predicting an apocalypse and the state-run Global Times said it had called on members to overthrow the Communist Party.
It is the most visible sign of the Chinese government’s attempt to eliminate the Church of Almighty God, a cult which believes Jesus has been reincarnated as a Chinese woman, and instructs its small band of adherents to desert their families and to reject the Communist Party.
Images of the attack were seen on the Internet, and public opposition to the cult rose after one defendant, Zhang Lidong, said of the victim in a televised interview, “My daughter said she took one look and saw she was no good. It was an evil spirit, a demon.”
A crackdown on the cult followed, and police claim 1,000 of its adherents and nearly 100 church leaders have been detained.
“The Church of Almighty God fraudulently uses the name of religion to swindle the public and illegally reap wealth. In recent years, it had been the cause of many cases of harming the public’s safety, of person and property as well as social stability,” a report in China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said.
China has sentenced dozens of followers of Quannengshen, or the Church of Almighty God, since the murder of the woman in May in the eastern province of Shandong.
“The facts are clear and there is plenty of evidence,” Gao Cheng, the lawyer for the murdered woman’s family, was quoted as saying by the People’s Daily on its website.
The accused had shown no sign of repentance and so should be severely punished, Gao said.
Li Ming, online editor for the state-backed China Anti-Cult Association, told the Sina news portal that China had at least 20 such cults, who had “coerced” millions of people.
“Once you have been brain-washed it’s very hard to get out. Because you have utter belief,” Li said.
It is one of 14 cults that China has listed as illegal, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The crime took place on May 28 in Zhaoyuan city in Shandong province, a traditional hotbed for religious sects. The region gave birth to the violent anti-Christian Boxer movement that laid siege to Western interests in Beijing and elsewhere during the waning years of the Qing dynasty in 1900.
The “All-powerful Spirit” organization was reportedly founded around 1990 by a physics teacher named Zhao Weishan who then fled to the United States, and draws on an unorthodox reading of Christian scripture.
In December 2012, police in China targeted the group and detained 16 people in Zhejiang province for spreading false and illegal information. At the same time, 58 people were arrested in Guangdong, the oldest aged 85 and the youngest 18, CCTV reported.
After the McDonald’s beating, police again targeted the group. Since June, police have caught nearly 1,000 criminal suspects, the Ministry of Public Security said on its microblog Wednesday.
The cult believes Jesus Christ was reincarnated as the wife of the sect’s founder, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Adherents also believe they are on a mission to fight and slay the “big red dragon,” as it refers to China’s ruling Communist Party, the Beijing News reported in December 2012.
China lists 14 cults as illegal, including the Falun Gong spiritual movement. China carried out a nationwide crackdown on Falun Gong in 1999, putting thousands of members behind bars. In late 2012, authorities arrested more than 450 people accused of belonging to the Church of Almighty God after they held secret gatherings and spread leaflets in the belief the world was going to end on Dec. 21 that year.