BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in the central Chinese province of Hubei has jailed nine members of a banned religious cult for up to three years, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday, a day after five others were sentenced in a northeastern province.
China's Communist Party, obsessed with social stability, brooks no challenge to its rule and has cracked down on cults, which have multiplied in recent years. Demonstrations have been put down with force and some sect leaders executed.
Xinhua said the nine were all members of the group Quannengshen, or the Church of Almighty God, and were convicted of "undermining the implementation of laws by making use of cult organizations".
Police found books, leaflets and memory sticks used to promote their group, the report said.
"They also recruited and brainwashed believers," it said.
Quannengshen gained notoriety in 2014 when a video distributed online appeared to show group members beating a woman to death at a McDonald's food chain store. That incident led to two members being sentenced to death for murder.
The "Almighty God" cult members in Hubei have been jailed for between 18 months and three years as China cracks down on the banned organization, authorities there said on Sunday.
Five members of the same cult were jailed on similar charges in northeastern Liaoning province, state media said on Saturday.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard