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China Daily Website  

Six cult members jailed in central China

Updated: 2015-05-13 16:19

CHANGSHA -- Six members of the "Almighty God" cult that shocked China with a murder in a McDonald's last year have been jailed for between two and four years as the country cracks down on the banned organization.

The six, identified as Tang Li, Chen Xiaoming, Duan Heping, He Xing, Zhu Shihe and Gao Xiangwu, were convicted of "breaching law enforcement by cult activities," according to the verdict issued on Wednesday by the Wuling District People's Court in the central Hubei province.

The court in Changde city said the six were senior members of the cult's local branch. They organized at-home "group study sessions" to brainwash new recruits and created videos, leaflets and other materials to spread, including on the Internet, according to the verdict.

Police arrested them in December.

"Almighty God," known in Chinese as Quannengshen, grabbed national headlines last year with videos going viral showing five of its members beating a woman to death at a McDonald's in the eastern city of Zhaoyuan, condemning her as an "evil spirit" as she refused to give them her cellphone number for recruitment purposes.

Two of the attackers were executed in February after being given death penalties in October. The other three received prison terms ranging from seven years to life.

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

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