China 'cult' members charged for McDonald's death: Report

BEIJING (AFP) - China has charged five people who were accused of being members of a religious cult for the intentional homicide of a woman at a McDonald's restaurant, state media said Thursday.

The woman, surnamed Wu, was beaten to death on May 28 at the restaurant in Zhaoyuan, in China's eastern Shandong province, after refusing to give her telephone number to the suspects, Xinhua news agency said.

They were seeking to recruit the woman into a cult called Quannengshen, it said.

The group, which can be translated as Church of Almighty God, is a doomsday cult which was outlawed by the government in the mid-1990s, according to media reports.

The suspects were charged with "intentional homicide for the murder of a customer in a McDonald's outlet", Xinhua said.

The news agency also quoted the indictment saying: "The circumstances are especially serious, their means are especially cruel, and the aftermath is especially serious."

Reports in May said six suspects were detained, including a juvenile, whose case would be dealt with separately.

China outlawed another group it labelled as an "evil cult", the spiritual movement Falungong, in the 1990s and has since detained tens of thousands of members. The group says its members are tortured for refusing to give up their beliefs.

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