China ‘cult’ members on trial for McDonald’s killing
Five members of a fringe religious group in China went on trial Thursday for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant, reportedly after she rebuffed their attempts to recruit her.
The five are all members of a cult called Quannengshen, the official news agency Xinhua said, adding that they attacked the woman, surnamed Wu, after she refused to give them her phone number.
The group, whose name can be translated as Church of Almighty God, believe that Jesus has been reincarnated as a Chinese woman and refer to the Communist Party as the “great red dragon”.
It was outlawed by the government in the mid-1990s.
PHOTO: Weibo / Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong
Images of the five accused, dressed in bright orange clothing and surrounded by 17 police officers, were posted online by Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong, in eastern China (above).
“The indictment charged the defendants Zhang Fan, Zhang Lidong, Lu Yingchun, Zhang Hang, Zhang Qiao jointly with intentional homicide,” it said on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Zhang Lidong, Zhang Fan and Lu were also accused of “using an evil cult organisation to undermine the law", the court’s Weibo page added.
Earlier this month state media said 1,000 Quannengshen members had been arrested including “high-level organisers and backbone members”.
Similar numbers were held at the end of 2012, when the organisation was under the spotlight for predicting an apocalypse and the state-run Global Times said it had called on members to overthrow the Communist Party.