Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 6 News List

China mulls life sentence for cult-related crimes

‘EVIL CULTS’:The harsher sentencing comes as cults have proliferated, despite a crackdown. The measures would also strip them of property and political rights

Reuters, SHANGHAI

China may extend the maximum sentence for people found guilty of cult-related crimes to life imprisonment from 15 years in jail, according to a draft amendment to the country’s criminal law, state media reported yesterday.

The Chinese Communist Party does not tolerate challenges to its rule and is obsessed with social stability.

It has cracked down on cults, which have multiplied in recent years. Demonstrations have been put down with force and some sect leaders executed.

The draft amendment is being considered by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, which is meeting until Wednesday next week.

According to the draft amendments, people sentenced to life imprisonment may also have their property confiscated and be stripped of political rights.

People found to be part of a cult and convicted of rape or fraud will be charged with both crimes. Penalties have also been added for cult members who seriously injury other people, according to the draft amendment.

China executed two members of a banned religious cult in February for murdering a woman in a McDonald’s restaurant after she rebuffed an apparent recruitment attempt by the group in May last year.

In 1999, then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) launched a campaign to crush the Falun Gong movement.

It was banned as an “evil cult” after thousands of practitioners staged a surprise, but peaceful sit-in outside the leadership compound in Beijing to demand official recognition of their movement.

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