There is plenty to criticize about the Chinese government, but at least the country’s Communist regime has done its part to make China one of the safest nations on Earth when it comes to violent crimes. With homicide rates among the world’s lowest (approximately one fifth of what they are in the U.S, to be exact), murder is far from the every-day occurrence in China that it is in other parts of the world.
And the picture I’ve painted is what makes the gruesome slaughter of the woman beaten to death inside a McDonald’s restaurant in eastern China all the more shocking.
The murder was carried out this past May by members of the bizarre Chinese cult known as the Church of the Almighty God. Here’s how the event went down:
- Cult members reportedly entered the restaurant hoping to recruit diners to the sect.
- They walked around demanding people’s phone numbers.
- When a woman refused to give hers out, the cult’s followers retaliated with unthinkable violence.
The six fanatics savagely beat their victim to death on the spot, all the while threatening horrified onlookers that they’ll be next to die should they interfere or call the police. "I beat her with all my might and stamped on her too. She was a demon. We had to destroy her,” said one of the killers during an interview from prison. He is currently awaiting trial and obviously remains unapologetic about the crime.
Apparently, the Church of the Almighty God has made its mission to rid the world of “demons,” or at least feel it’s their place to do so. They must constantly be on the lookout if and when they happen to cross paths with one. And considering that one’s refusal to share her phone number is enough to qualify as a “demon” in the eyes of the cult, it’s safe to say their definition of the word is broader than most.
Almost all cults thrive on programming members to think that anyone who doesn’t adhere to their beliefs or support their practices is an enemy or pure evil. Either way, it must be destroyed by the chosen few in order to cleanse the Earth by God’s will. It’s actually very common rhetoric among religious sects. But the Church of the Almighty God has taken it to a particularly sick extreme. Members of the cult are ready to kill unprovoked. They feel no remorse for their actions. Most disturbing—they’ll murder members of their own family if commanded to do so by the cult. Last year, a female follower beat her father to death, believing him to be a demon.
It’s hard to imagine what kind of psychopath could possibly be behind such a twisted organization—and in fact, we may never know. The cult was formed 25 years ago by a man named Zhao Weishan. The founding principal: God has come back to Earth as a Chinese woman and the apocalypse will soon follow. Of course, the only person to have met the Chinese she-God is Zhao. But because he fled the country soon thereafter and has not been seen or heard from since, there is no way of knowing what his vision was or why a physics teacher would choose to form such a sect.
In all likelihood, the Church of the Almighty God had more to do with politics than it did religion at least initially. The cult may have a religious-y anti-demon stance, weekly services and hymns, but unlike other beliefs they are also active in promoting a political agenda—staunchly anti-Communist.
Perhaps Zhao decided to rebel against the Chinese government by forming a “religious” sect as a statement on the Communist party’s ban on religion. However, if he knew what his church has now become, I’m curious to know how he’d feel about it. After this McDonalds murder, they’ve started making the normally reprimandable Chinese government look like “the good guys” by comparison.