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China tries 5 cult members for murder

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BEIJING (AP) — Five people went on trial Thursday for allegedly beating a woman to death in a McDonald's outlet in eastern China after they unsuccessfully tried to recruit her into their cult, a court said.

The five are accused of murder and three of them also face cult-related charges at Yantai Intermediate People's Court in Shandong province. The court posted photos of what it said were the proceedings.

The five allegedly killed the woman on the evening of May 28 in Zhaoyuan city after she refused to give her number to the suspects, who were trying to recruit new members for their group known as Quannengshen or "All-powerful Spirit."

It claims Jesus has been resurrected as a Chinese woman. It is one of 14 cults that China has listed as illegal, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Following the incident, authorities announced the roundup of hundreds of alleged cult members.

China has struggled at times to control grassroots religious movements based on Christian or Buddhist ideology, most notably the Falungong meditation movement that attracted millions of adherents before being brutally repressed in 1999.

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