Not sure if the Chinese government is going after them for being subversive or not being one of their “approved” religious sects and also being accused of brainwashing. Apparently, the gov hates competition.
“Over the past three months China has arrested nearly 1,000 members of a Christian sect referred to as a cult by Beijing, state media said on Tuesday.
The crackdown, since June, has focused on members of the Church of Almighty God, a Christian group that has attracted followers in rural areas of China for more than 10 years.
The people arrested include “high-level organisers and backbone members” of the group, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing officials. The agency did not give details of the crimes linked to the suspects, who are said to come from more than six provinces.China has previously cracked down harshly on groups it labels as cults, notably the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which was banned in the late 1990s.
Falun Gong members said they were a target because the ruling Communist party had called the group a threat, detaining and allegedly torturing thousands of its followers.
Beijing has for years struggled to suppress the Almighty God group, with state media reporting the arrest of nearly 1,000 followers in 2012 when the organisation was under the spotlight for predicting an apocalypse.
The group told members that year that a “female Jesus” had arrived and called on members to overthrow the Communist party, which the group referred to as “the big red dragon”, the state-run Global Times reported.
State media said the group brainwashed its members and encouraged them to isolate themselves from family and friends.
This year’s crackdown follows the murder in May of a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in the eastern province of Shandong, which police blamed on members of Almighty God. The movement’s founder is reported to have fled to the US.
On Thursday five people will go on trial in connection with the murder, Xinhua said.
China tightly controls religious expression, permitting worship at government-controlled Buddhist, Daoist, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic establishments but banning other religious organisations. Beijing often proclaims, however, that it grants citizens wide-ranging religious freedom.”