The eleven most active religious cults in China

20140604A01_briefTaking its cue from a report on People’s Daily Online, the Daily Mirror (晶报) newspaper from Guangdong yesterday reported on “evil cults” (邪教) in China, in the wake of the murder of a woman in a McDonald’s outlet in Zhaoyuan (招远), Shandong province, by six members of the “Almighty God” (全能神) cult on May 28. The report, based on findings released by the China Anti-Cult Association, lists the eleven most active religious cults in China currently. The report notes a warning from the Association, however, that in addition to the cults listed below, there are many other cults that are holding gatherings, proselytizing and causing trouble. Eight cults are named in this regard, such as the South China Church (华南教会) and the World Gospel Evangelical Church of Christ (世界以利亚福音宣教会).

The following are the eleven most active religious cults in China, and comments on some of the commentary on each as published in yesterday’s Daily Mirror:

  1. Falun Gong (法轮功): Founded in the early 1990s, have committed many crimes. Leader Li Hongzhi (李洪志) exercises “extreme spiritual control” over followers.
  2. Almighty God (全能神): Split off from The Shout (呼喊派, see below) in the 1990s, when it became a separate entity under the leadership of Zhao Weishan (赵维山). The cult believes that the one true God revealed himself as a second Christ in the form of an Asian woman to save the Chinese nation. Zhao fled China for the US in 2000; many members of the cult have committed crimes of homicide and public disorder, with the latest being the murder of the woman in a McDonald’s outlet in Shandong on May 28.
  3. The Shout (呼喊派): Established by Li Changshou (李常受), a US citizen, in 1962 in the US, the cult has a presence all over the world and many links with other religious organizations, and tries to organize in mainland China as well.
  4. The Disciple Society (门徒会): Established by Shaanxi peasant Li Sanbao (季三保, original name 季忠杰) in 1989, this cult considers itself a Christian sect; its illegal activities include what it calls “passing on the gospel”. The cult considers the present world a black-and-white, confused mass that will be destroyed in a great flood.
  5. Unification Church (统一教): Established in Busan, South Korea in 1954, this cult seeks to exert extensive control over followers, and makes use of so-called “Ideal Households” (理想家庭) where inhabitants are paired for marriage by elder members of the cult.
  6. Guanyin Method (观音法门): Established in Taiwan in 1988 by a woman named Shi Qinghai (释清海), who styles herself as “supreme teacher” equal to Siddharta Gautama, Jesus Christ, and Allah.
  7. Bloody Holy Spirit (血水圣灵): With its current headquarters in Taiwan, this cult is at present under the leadership of a man named Zuo Kun (左坤), who fled Taiwan for the US after coming under suspicion as a cult leader. In recent years this cult has been actively recruiting new members and accumulating wealth in mainland China.
  8. All Ranges Church (全范围教会): Established by Xu Yongze (徐永泽) in 1984; Xu subsequently fled to the US in 2000. The “all ranges” doctrine of the church is built on three key concepts, namely big (大), wide (广), and deep (深), by which all people should be brought to Christ and co-rule with Christ in a godly nation. Meetings of this cult are marked by loud wailing to confess sins.
  9. Three Grades of Servants (三班仆人派): Established by Xu Wenku (徐文库) in 1986. Calling himself the servant of God (神的仆人), Xu went to preach the gospel in northeastern China, and made extensive use of the Gospel of Matthew. This cult is considered extremely dangerous, as it is responsible for 21 murders all over China.
  10. True Buddha School (灵仙真佛宗): Established by the American Chinese Lu Shengyan (卢胜彦) in Taiwan 1979, the cult’s headquarters is located in Seattle. Lu calls himself a “living Buddha”, and advocates for his followers to reach true enlightenment by surpassing all earthly worries and fantasies.
  11. Chinese Mainland Administrative Deacon Station (中华大陆行政执事站): Established by former Shout member Wang Yongmin (王永民) in 1994, Wang considers himself to be the one true deacon. The cult is aimed at expanding the kingdom of God, and inhibiting the kingdom of Satan, and adheres to a doctrine of an approaching end of the world.

Links and sources
Daily Mirror (晶报): 11种邪教组织较活跃 注意识别防范