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Cult targets youth in recruitment

2015-09-30 Source:globaltimes Author:globaltimes

     

Family members display photos of the victim of the brutal murder in a McDonald’s in Zhaoyuan, Shandong Province, committed by cult members. Photo: CFP

Over 30 percent of new members of a cult in 2014 were minors in Shandong and Henan provinces, which the cult considers one in 10 China districts, reports on Monday said.

Experts renewed their call for protection for minors from a cult called the Church Rebuilt by the Holy Spirit, which continues to recruit the youth.

Police said that the youngest recruit in the district in 2014 was 9 years old, while a local leader in Henan was 19 years old, the Nandu Daily reported.

Founded in 1988 in Taiwan, the Church Rebuilt by the Holy Spirit was identified as a cult in the Chinese mainland in 1995, but it has already recruited over 300,000 members in the mainland, Nandu Daily reported.

The cult has established 10 main districts in the Chinese mainland. In one district centered around Jiangxi Province, 613 "churches" have been set up by early 2014.

Cult leader Zuo Kun was born in Jiujiang, Jiangxi in 1930 and went to Taiwan in the late 1940s. He claims he is the "disciple of God" and demands that all members call him "father."

"Many young people lack care from their family and society. The cult capitalizes on that deficit to attract the young. Also, it's easier for the group to generate sympathy by asking followers to call Zuo 'father,'" said Li Anping, deputy secretary-general of the China Anti-Cult Association.

Li said that the cult focuses on the youth, so society should be on alert.

In March 2012, police from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region traced a group of members to an underground gathering in Jilin Province, and a police operation netted 41 members of primary and high school age being tested by the cult, reports said.

"Preaching should focus more on young people or students. Their parents will also join us for so long as they profess loyalty," an anonymous member was quoted as saying by Nandu Daily.

The cult also bans the use of cellphones and requires all members to pay a tithe each month. It also encourages members to invest in businesses like cafes and restaurants, which help Zuo pocket about 300,000 ($48365) yuan every month.

The National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China said the cult claims that the end of the world is coming and that only its members can "escape the final judgment."

The cult also fanned hatred against the central government and the Party, claiming to be saving "souls suppressed under Communism," according to the group.

In January, a court in Langfang, Hebei Province sentenced three cult members to up to four years for disrupting social order, reported kaifeng.com, a website focused on cults in China.

Langfang police said the cult members had planned to cause more trouble in Beijing in February, 2014.

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