Chinese court officials announced Monday that two members of a religious cult, convicted in the beating death of a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant, had been executed.
The New York Times reports the Yantai Intermediate People’s Court announced the execution of Zhang Lidong and his daughter Zhang Fan in a statement posted to an official social media account. The two had “committed murder and used a cult to intentionally break the law,” the statement read. The court did not say when the executions took place or how the two were executed.
China uses both lethal injection and firing squad to execute inmates, according to the Daily Mail.
Zhang Lidong was 54 years old. His daughter was 29.
The father and daughter duo were among five members of the banned Quannengshen cult convicted for savagely beating 35-year-old Wu Shuoyan to death in May.
Video of the incident, captured with a cellphone, circulated on the Internet in the months following the attack.
State television reported Wu was waiting in the restaurant for her husband and young son when she was approached by members of the sect. They asked her for her phone number, which she declined to give. Members were said to have then identified Wu as an “evil spirit” and attacked her, beating the woman with chairs and a mop before kicking her repeatedly while she was on the ground.
“I beat her with all my might and stomped on her, too,” Zhang Lidong said later in an interview from prison that aired on state television. “She was a demon. We had to destroy her.”
The court sentenced the Zhangs to death in October. The three other defendants received sentences of seven years, 10 years and life in prison.
The sect is also known by the names Church of Almighty God and Eastern Lighting. It was said to have been founded in China in 1989 and teaches that Jesus has returned to Earth as a Chinese woman to save followers from the coming apocalypse. The group opposes the communist government of China and authorities there outlawed the group in the 1990s.
State media claims officials have arrested and detained roughly 1,000 sect members, including “high-level organizers and backbone members,” since the May beating.
Photo Credit: State media video capture via the Daily Mail