Two members of a cult in China have been executed for fatally beating a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant, according to media reports.
“A father and daughter who belonged to a fringe Chinese religious group were executed Monday for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant, reportedly after she rebuffed their attempts to recruit her,” mentioned Agence-France Presse (AFP).
BBC explained that the pair, identified as Zhang Lidong and his daughter Zhang Fan, belonged to the Church of the Almighty cult, a group that was reportedly banned by the Chinese government in the mid-1990s.
“The pair were among a group of five members of the banned Quannengshen cult convicted of attacking the woman, surnamed Wu, after she refused to give them her phone number,” added AFP.
Various news outlets reported that the Shandong Yantai Intermediate People’s Court announced the execution of the father and daughter on Monday morning, saying the pair had “committed murder and used a cult to intentionally break the law.”
Wu was allegedly beaten to death because the group believed she “was possessed by an evil spirit,” according to the local court.
The five members of the cult were reportedly found guilty in October 2014. Three of them were given sentences ranging from seven years in jail to life imprisonment.
Wu was a demon and “we had to destroy her,” the executed father, Zhang Lidong,reportedly said in an interview.
State media said 1,000 cult members have been arrested by Chinese authorities following the deadly beating.
“The cult’s core belief is that God has returned to earth as a Chinese woman to wreak the apocalypse,” reported BBC. “The only person who claims direct contact with this god is a former physics teacher, Zhao Weishan, who founded the cult 25 years ago and has since fled to the United States.”
“It claims on its website that it has millions of followers and says nearly 400,000 have been arrested between 2011 and 2014,” added the British news agency.
AFP reported that the group refers to ruling Communist Party as the “great red dragon,” adding that the cult describes the Chinese authorities as “the persecutor of God and the enemy of God.”
“The Maturer the People Become, the Sooner the Great Red Dragon Will Collapse,” reportedly states the title of a section on the cult’s website.
State media has accused the group of “numerous suicides and murders, in which many victims were the perpetrators’ family members”.