Chinese authorities have arrested "nearly a thousand" members
of a banned religious group, the latest in a series of
official moves against a group that China has outlawed as an
China has sentenced dozens of followers of Quannengshen, or
the Church of Almighty God, since the murder of a woman at a
fastfood restaurant by suspected members of the group in June
sparked a national outcry.
Among those arrested were 100 "high-level organizers and
backbone members", state news agency Xinhua said, citing a
statement from the Ministry of Public Security.
The murder trial is set to open on Thursday, Xinhua said.
The Quannengshen group, which originated in central Henan
province, believes that Jesus was resurrected as Yang
Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder, Zhao Weishan, Xinhua
said. Zhao is also known as Xu Wenshan, Xinhua said, adding
that the couple fled to the United States in September 2000.
In 2012, China launched a crackdown on the group after it
called for a "decisive battle" to slay the "Red Dragon"
Communist Party, and preached that the world would end that
The party brooks no challenge to its rule and is obsessed
with social stability. It has cracked down on cults, which
have multiplied across the country in recent years.
Demonstrations have been put down with force and some sect
Former President Jiang Zemin launched a campaign in 1999 to
crush the Falun Gong religious group, banning it as an "evil
cult" after thousands of practitioners staged a surprise but
peaceful sit-in outside the leadership compound in Beijing to
demand official recognition of their movement.