China Executes Cult Leader for Rape


The Associated Press, October 13, 1999

BEIJING (AP) - Chinese authorities in the central province of Hunan have executed the leader of the outlawed "Master of God" cult and sentenced another member to 17 years in prison, the official newspaper Legal Daily reported today.

Liu Jiaguo was executed after the Hunan High Court upheld his death sentence for raping 11 women, including two under the age of 14, and defrauding members of the cult he founded in 1993. Fellow cult leader Zhu Aiqing was given a 17 year prison sentence.

The "Master of God" cult is among many that have been targeted in a harsh crackdown on all unauthorized religious activities that also resulted in the July 22 banning of the popular Falun Gong meditation movement.

According to accounts in the state-run media, Liu broke away from another banned cult, the "Beili King" group, after disagreeing with its leader. After Beili King leader Wu Yangming was executed in 1995, Liu sought to lure away his rival's devotees, eventually winning a following of some 10,000 people.

As in the case with the Falun Gong, Chinese authorities accused Liu's cult of seeking to overthrow the government and of deceiving members. According to an account in the official magazine Liaowang, Liu and his cohorts told women followers that they must sacrifice their bodies to God, saying that members of their families would get sick and die if they did not have sex with them.

It said Liu and others seduced girls by quoting the Bible out of context, claiming that they were "predestined in a former life to be called by God to be `holy spirits,' which would improve their karma."

The Legal Daily report said that Liu and Zhu both had appealed their sentences. Liu's appeal was rejected, but the Hunan High Court reduced Zhu's original 20 year sentence by three years. In addition, Liu was ordered to pay a fine equal to $3,630 and Zhu to pay the equivalent of $1,210.

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