6 cult members stand trial in Central China

Updated: 2014-07-03 19:44


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CHANGSHA - Six cult members pleaded guilty to a range of offenses in court in central China's Hunan Province on Thursday.

The defendants, who are members of the illegal cult Quannengshen (almighty god), were on trial accused of organizing cult activities and funding, recruiting believers and producing preaching articles in Hunan, according to the procuratorate of Wuling District in the city of Changde.

They pleaded guilty to all charges.

6 cult members stand trial in Central China
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The six were caught by police in December. More than 160 books, 121 pamphlets, 33 discs and five computers that included Quannengshen material were found at the place where the group gathered, local police said.

The cult came into the spotlight when six Quannengshen members beat a woman to death on May 28 at a McDonalds outlet in the eastern province of Shandong, after she refused to hand over her telephone number. The cult members were allegedly trying to recruit people.

Appearing in the 1990s in central China's Henan Province, the Quannengshen group claims that Jesus has been resurrected as Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder Zhao Weishan, also known as Xu Wenshan. The couple fled to the United States in September 2000.

The sect has been widely criticized for spreading rumors and coercing people to join. In late October and early November 1998, robberies and assaults connected with the cult were reported over 12 days in Henan's Tanghe County, with victims' limbs broken and ears cut off.