Chinese authorities recently apprehended 18 members of an alleged murderous cult, according to the local state media.
Some members of the religious cult, Church of Almighty God, gained notoriety in 2014 for fatally beating a 35-year-old woman they were trying to recruit at a McDonald’s outlet after she refused to give them her phone number, reports the BBC.
Following the incident, several cult members were arrested, two of whom were later executed. The group has since been banned by the government.
The group, which was founded in the 1990s, teaches that Jesus was resurrected as a Chinese woman. Dubbed as the “Almighty God, Christ of the Last Days”, the woman is said to bring forth the apocalypse.
Cult founder and former physics teacher, Zhao Weishan, has claimed to be the only person who had direct contact with this woman. Weishan has since flown to the United States after founding the group 25 years ago.
It is worth noting, however, that the police have been cracking down on the remaining cult members in the country even before the 2014 incident. In 2012, nearly 100 cult members were arrested in Qinghhai and Zhejiang.
In the most recent arrest, the officers confiscated the computers and books that are believed to be used by the cult to recruit members.
The cult is infamous for keeping members isolated from friends and families and then pressuring them to donate money with the promise of salvation. It has also embraced anti-communist beliefs and has reportedly referred to China’s communist party as the “red dragon”.
Sought for comment by the news outlet, the “Church of Almighty God” pointed to its website that features alleged testimonies from members who say they have been tortured by the Chinese government.