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Cult-busting 610 Office gets deputy leader

By Zhang Yan and Su Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-24 07:59

Liu Jinguo, vice-minister of public security, has been appointed deputy head of the 610 Office, the central government agency responsible for combating cults and handling cult-related issues.

The 610 Office is named after the date of its creation - June 10, 1999. Liu's new position had been held by Li Dongsheng, the former vice-minister of public security, until Li was placed under investigation in December.

Li was sacked for "suspected serious disciplinary violations", according to a statement on Dec 20 from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, using a term that usually denotes corruption. Li was expelled from the Party in early July.

Liu, 59, was born in Changli county, Hebei province. In March 2005, he was appointed vice-minister of the Public Security Ministry and has been holding a concurrent post as the ministry's secretary of the commission for discipline inspection since August 2009.

The 610 Office entered the public eye after a woman was beaten to death on May 28, allegedly by six members of the illegal Church of Almighty God at a McDonald's restaurant in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province.

According to the ministry, from June to September, police captured more than 1,000 Church of Almighty God members involving more than 500 cases in a nationwide special action to target cult organizations.

The crackdown will continue for the rest of this year.

"During the action, police officers' priority will be collecting clues reported by the public and intensifying their efforts to attack cult organizers," one statement provided by the ministry said.

Police officers will pay regular visits to local communities and hotels to investigate suspicious people and take measures to prevent their distributing illegal cult publicity materials, it said.

The nature of cult organizations is "inhuman, anti-social and unconstitutional," said Dai Peng, director of the criminal investigation department of Public Security University of China. "It's not religion, but heterodoxy."

He said cults are often involved with violent crimes, money fraud and sex abuse, which pose a serious threat to social security and stability.

"Apart from police crackdown efforts, communities and the media should give more warnings and guidance to the public to distinguish between normal religions and cults and help them stay away from the cults. And if they discover any clues, they should report them to police," he added.

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