'Evil Cult' Kills Woman in China McDonald's

Bystanders failed to intervene
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2014 2:22 AM CDT
'Evil Cult' Kills Woman in China McDonald's
Passengers walk near a large sign for a McDonald's at a train station in northern China.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

The murder of a woman at a McDonald's in China has shocked the country not just because of the brutal nature of the crime, but because bystanders failed to intervene. The woman was beaten to death with chairs and a metal mop on Wednesday by people later identified as members of a banned religious group described as an "evil cult" by authorities, reports Reuters. Cell phone video of the incident shows several people watching the attack, which authorities say happened after the 37-year-old woman, who had planned to meet her husband there, refused to give the group her phone number. The New York Times reports the attackers were trying to recruit new members at the restaurant.

"From the eyewitness' video you can see more than five strong young men walking about as if nothing happened, hiding by the doorway and craning their necks to watch the bloody slaughter," a humanitarian activist said in a Beijing News op-ed, calling the indifference "frightening." Six people were arrested for the murder, all of them members of the Church of Almighty God doomsday cult, reports the South China Morning Post. The group, also known as Eastern Lightning, is firmly opposed to the Communist Party and preaches that God has returned to Earth as a woman born in China. It is believed to have around a million followers, even after its prediction that the world would end in 2012 failed to come true. (More China stories.)

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