Jun 10, 2014

Suspects in Cult Violence 'Feel No Remorse'

Zhang Lidong
Suspect of the killing Zhang Lidong [Xinhua]
June 7, 2014
Sandy Zhu
(Source: Xinhua and China Daily)

The self-confessed cult members arrested on suspicion of beating a woman to death on May 28 at a McDonald's restaurant in Zhaoyuan, Shandong Province, have shown no regret for the incident.

Zhang Lidong, a 54-year-old suspect, said in a detention house that he was a businessman before becoming obsessed with the heretic sect Quannengshen, translated as "Almighty God", seven years ago.
Zhang said he was influenced by his elder daughter Zhang Fan, 30, who was the first in the family to join the cult after reading a book about it. He then stopped working. The car he drove on the evening of May 28, the night of the attack, was a 1-million-yuan ($160,100) Porsche, which he said he bought with his savings.

On the night of the attack, the father and five other cult members were attempting to recruit new members, police said. When Wu, the mother of a 7-year-old boy, refused to give them her telephone number, they beat her to death, according to the police.

In addition to his daughter Zhang Fan, Zhang Lidong also has a daughter, Zhang Hang, and an underage son whose name has not been released to protect his identity. All allegedly participated in the assault.

Zhang Fan's friend and Zhang Lidong's lover are also suspects in the beating.

Zhang Lidong said on Sunday that he beat Wu because Zhang Fan told him that the woman was a "devil" or an "evil spirit".

He said the devil should go to hell, so he has no remorse for his behavior. He did, however, confirm that he has had on two occasions doubted "Almighty God", the first time when he arrived in Zhaoyuan and the second when he was arrested.

Zhang Fan, who is a university graduate and briefly studied overseas, said she would kill her mother because she is the "biggest devil" and has shared that idea with her friend, one of the suspects.

Zhang Fan met the friend on the Internet in 2008. In 2009, the Zhang family came to Zhaoyuan to live with the friend, she said. She added that she has donated more than 100,000 yuan to the cult.

At the home where the suspects lived, words like "massacre" are painted on a white board. Zhang Fan said she killed her dog the night before the beating because she thought it was also an "evil spirit".

Both the father and his elder daughter said they are not afraid of the law nor are they repentant for what they did.

The cult first came to light in the 1990s in Henan Province. It claims that Jesus was resurrected in the form of Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder Zhao Weishan, who is also known as Xu Wenshan. The couple fled to the United States in 2000.

China lists 14 illegal cults, including Falun Gong and "Almighty God". Nine key members of "Almighty God" were arrested in Changde, Hunan Province, the Changde public security bureau said on Thursday.

Previously, five "Almighty God" members were sentenced to three years or three and a half years in prison in Henan province. Four others in Liaoning Province were sentenced to three to four years in prison.