1,000 cult members arrested in 500 cases since June

Updated: 2014-08-22 08:36

By Zhang Yan(China Daily)

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Police have arrested 1,000 "Church of Almighty God" members in connection with more than 500 cases since June, when the Ministry of Public Security initiated a nationwide special campaign to attack the cult, the ministry said on Thursday.

The special action followed a killing in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, on May 28, when a woman was beaten to death by six alleged cult members.

The crackdown will continue for the rest of this year, the ministry said.

"During the action, we have been paying attention to collecting clues reported by the public and intensifying efforts to uncover many such cases," the ministry said.

In Hebei province alone, several cities, including Chengde, Handan, Langfang, and Tangshan, have uncovered four cult cases since June, and police have apprehended 191 suspects.

Meanwhile, Hebei police smashed many dens of the cult members and confiscated many cult documents, devices and some audio and video products, Hebei police said.

"The cult did harm to people and society," said one captured cult suspect, surnamed Wang, in Hebei. "All the religion it created was fraudulent."

He said that if people want to live a happy life, they have to depend on themselves, working hard and accumulating wealth.

Wu Xin, one detained cult member in Handan city, Hebei province, told police, "The cult members once told me if I believe in the 'god', it will help cure all diseases, and bless me to make a happy life."

But after that, he almost ruined his family, he recalled. "I didn't care about my family's lives at all, and even though my mother became seriously ill, I persuaded her not to go to the hospital for treatment, which almost killed her."

The ministry said it will supervise local police to strike and punish the cult organizations and main suspects and focus on educating the cult members.

Emerging in the 1990s in Henan province, the group claims that Jesus has been resurrected as Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder, Zhao Weishan, also known as Xu Wenshan. The sect later spread to other regions in the country.

The couple fled to the United States in September 2000. At the time, the "Church of Almighty God" was listed as a cult by China's State Administration of Religious Affairs.

The nature of cult organizations is "inhuman, antisocial and unconstitutional," said Wang Shuli, a political adviser and expert on religion. "It's not religion, but heterodoxy."