Behind the bamboo curtain

I saw this report on CNN, and was intrigued:

‘Eastern Lightning’: The banned religious group that has China worried

Here’s the trigger event that brought the group into the limelight:

The group was approaching fellow diners at a McDonald’s restaurant in an eastern Chinese city on a recent Wednesday night, asking for their cellphone numbers, when one woman refused.

What happened next, captured by terrified onlookers on their cellphone cameras and later replayed in news reports, would shock the Chinese public and trigger an official crackdown on what Beijing has characterized as a dangerous doomsday “cult.”

“Go to hell, demon,” one of the accused, Zhang Lidong, yelled as he beat the woman with a steel mop handle, telling her she would “never come back in the next reincarnation.”

The poor woman was murdered.

The police arrested five people, “all members of the Church of Almighty God (“Quannengshen”), Zhaoyuan police said in a statement.”

Also known as Eastern Lightning (“Dongfang Shandian”), the group preaches that Christ has been reincarnated as a woman from central China, and that the righteous are engaged in an apocalyptic struggle against China’s Communist Party — which they refer to as the “great red dragon.”

Linked to kidnappings, violence and extortion, the group has been listed among 14 banned religious groups by China’s Ministry of Public Security since 1995.

I don’t know if the article is accurate, or is a Chinese government sponsored press release in disguise, but it is a fascinating hint about the issues lying not so far below the surface in China.