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Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

Asia

7 cult members under public prosecution in Guangzhou

China Daily/ANN | Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

The husband (left, with mask) and son (second to left) of a murder victim, together with other relatives, mourn the death of Wu Shuoyan in front of a McDonald's restaurant in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, on Tuesday.

Accused cult leader Bai Xiujie and six of her followers were placed under public prosecution on June 6, on suspicion of the crime of undermining the implementation of the laws by organising and using a cult in Guangzhou, the Procuratorial Daily said on Tuesday. The seven were placed under public prosecution by Haizhu District Procuratorate in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.

Earlier in January, the procuratorate approved the arrest of the seven cult members from the Quannengshen or "Church of Almighty God", on suspicion of that crime, which is the first case that resulted in arrest in the city.

The suspects have been spreading and enlarging the cult from many bases in Guangzhou's Haizhu and Baiyun districts since March 2013. The cult is organised with a top-down management that collects money illegally.

With the knowledge that China has declared a ban on the "Church of Almighty God" cult, Bai and others still organised meetings to spread the cult's books and electronic documents. Seventy-five copies of books, 106 document files, and 133,000 electronic documents were discovered and seized. The prosecuted confessed that their major channels of distribution include computers, mobile phones and MP4 files.

Last month, six members of the same cult beat a woman to death in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, because she refused to join their order, sending shockwaves throughout the country. The major suspects were arrested and showed no remorse, according to the latest Xinhua report.

The cult first came to light in the 1990s in Henan province. It claims that Jesus was resurrected in the form of Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder, Zhao Weishan, who is also known as Xu Wenshan. The couple fled to the United States in 2000.

China lists 14 illegal cults, including Falun Gong and "Church of Almighty God". Nine key members of "Church of Almighty God" were arrested in Changde, Hunan province on June 5.

Previously, five "Church of Almighty God" cult members were sentenced to 3 years or 3 ½ years in prison in Henan province. Four others in Liaoning province were sentenced to 3-4 years in prison.

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