Beijing detains 18 members from a banned religious cult group that believes 'Jesus is a Chinese woman'

Daily Mail, UK/July 27, 2017

By Sophie Williams

Beijing has detained 18 members of a banned religious cult that believes that Jesus has reincarnated as a Chinese woman. 

The cult named 'The Church of Almighty God' became known worldwide after five of its 'disciples' beat a woman to death in a McDonald's after she refused to provide them with her phone number. 

According to state media, eight of those detained have denounced their cult beliefs. 

Police in east China's Zhejiang province detained the suspects following an investigation into the cult. 

According to Xinhua, police in Changxing County confiscated laptops and books used by the cult. 

Of those detained, eight have been 're-educated' and have already denounced their 'cult beliefs' according to police. 

The people detained are said to be from the same cult known as 'The Church of Almighty God'.

The group became known worldwide after a woman was beaten to death by five of the members in 2014 in a McDonald's restaurant in Zhaoyuan. She had reportedly refused to give them her phone number to know more about the group. 

One of the murderers Zhang Lidong said in an interview: 'I beat her with all my might and stamped on her too. She was a demon. We had to destroy her.' 

The Church of Almighty God was formed in the 1990s by Zhao Weishan. He claims that Jesus has been resurrected as Yang Xiangbin who happens to be his wife. 

The pair moved to the US in September 2000.

Channel 4 news spoke with a member just after the McDonalds attack and claimed that there were at least a million members in the country.  

The Church of Almighty God refers to the ruling Communist Party as the 'great red dragon'.  

On its website, where one section is headed 'The Maturer the People Become, the Sooner the Great Red Dragon Will Collapse', the group describes the authorities as 'the persecutor of God and the enemy of God'.  

China has previously cracked down harshly on groups it labels 'cults', most notably the Falungong spiritual movement, which was banned in the late 1990s.

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