Chinese court upholds conviction of 4 cult members
A court in northeast China's Liaoning Province upheld the verdict of four members of the "Almighty God" cult who were sentenced to between 20 months and three years in prison.
According to the intermediate people's court in the city of Panjin, the four who were key members of the cult's local branch formed a "computer group" to receive and disseminate orders issued by the cult organization and conducted cult activities.
Police arrested them in June last year. They were convicted of "undermining the implementation of laws by making use of cult organizations."
In May this year, the four were sentenced by a court in Xinglongtai District of the city to prison terms ranging from 20 months to three years and fined from 5,000 yuan (US$710.5) to 10,000 yuan. Computers, hard disks and other items involved in the case have been confiscated in accordance.
"Almighty God," known in Chinese as Quannengshen, grabbed national headlines in 2014 with viral videos 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" after she refused to give them her mobile phone number for recruitment purposes.
First appearing in the 1990s in central China's Henan Province, Quannengshen claims that Jesus has been resurrected as Yang Xiangbin, who is the wife of the cult's founder Zhao Weishan, also known as Xu Wenshan. The couple fled to the United States in September 2000.