China / Society

Two China regions arrest 1,500 cult members

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-10 19:38

BEIJING - Police in two northern Chinese regions Tuesday said they have arrested some 1,500 cult members over the past two years.

The public security bureau in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region said it had detained over 800 members of Quannengshen (Almighty God) and 580 of the Mentuhui cult (Disciples Sect) members since 2012.

About 1,200 cult members were given security administration punishments. Eight-seven Quannengshen members were indicted and of them, 59 have been given prison terms, it said.

Police in Liaoning have arrested 113 key members of the Quannengshen cult in the province since 2013. Of the total, 20 have been given prison terms and the rest are indicted or under trial.

Cults came into the spotlight when six Quannengshen members beat a woman to death at a McDonalds outlet in Zhaoyuan City in the eastern province of Shandong, after she refused to give her telephone number to the suspects, who were allegedly trying to recruit new members for their sect.

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 U.S. in September 2000.

The sect has been widely criticized for spreadng rumors and coercing people to join the cult. In late October and early November 1998, numerous 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.

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