Three key members of Children of God, a cult with branches worldwide, have been detained by police in Baokang, Hubei Province for illegally organizing cult activities and disrupting social order, police announced on Sunday.
Hubei police detained three key members surnamed Zhu, Zou and Huan in the township of Xiema on the evening of November 11 after receiving a tip-off from local residents.
Police at the scene also confiscated written materials about the Children of God. Police said that Zhu, from Henan Province, established five branches in four townships in Hubei and had attracted nearly 100 followers in Baokang and nearby areas in recent years.
"The cult organized secret meetings on every Sunday and held two conferences on Passover and Christmas," Zhu confessed to police. Zhu said that more than 20 among the 100 members are from other provinces.
Children of God, currently known as The Family International, was established in the US in 1968, and entered China in 1980 through cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Hangzhou.
The cult encourages its followers to recruit members and raise funds by religious prostitution. It advocates group living, promiscuity, and child sexuality.
The State Council and the Ministry of Public Security have identified at least 14 cults since the 1990s, including the "Children of God."
A Baokang police officer said that Zhu came to Hubei from Henan as he feared that members of his cult would be converted to "Almighty God," another cult identified by authorities and reportedly popular in Hubei.
"The Almighty God cult has been very active in recent years … Zhu was recruited by the cult and subject to a secret investigation," a police officer surnamed Ouyang told the Global Times.
According to a statement that Baokang police sent to the Global Times on Monday, the cult has dispatched 37 members from nine countries such as the US, Canada, the UK and France to China to disseminate its doctrine and established more than 100 "families" with over 190 members by the end of 1984.
Authorities cracked down on the cult after 1984, but since 1990 it has revived, Ouyang said, adding that the cult attacked social systems and ideology.
"Zhu said almost all the residents in his hometown participated in the cult," Xu Jianhua, a police officer handling the case, told the Global Times.
The public security ministry has launched a national crackdown on "Almighty God" since June, arresting about 1,000 suspects nationwide in two months.
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