Sensationalizing new religious movements is a usual practice. One popular Internet practice is to use “lists” to attract users. Lists of “cultic” or objectionable features of certain movements are used to perpetuate stereotypes, badmouth religious minorities, and spread fake news.
The Church of Almighty God (CAG), the largest Christian new religious movement in China, has been a frequent victim of these campaigns. Some fake news come from the Chinese Communist Party, which should find reasons to justify a massive, cruel, and decade-long persecution. Others come from Christian religionists disturbed by the phenomenal growth of the CAG in China (government sources claimed in 2014 it had reached four million members), which happened largely at their expenses.
Unfortunately, fake news is also used to deny the asylum requests of those CAG members who managed to escape China and settle in other countries as refugees.
Massimo Introvigne, probably the most knowledgeable scholar of the CAG internationally, has now debunked the ten most widespread myths about the Church in an article written for the daily magazine about religious liberty in China, Bitter Winter. The article is available at https://bitterwinter.org/the-church-of-almighty-god-eastern-lightning-10-false-myths/.
It also includes a movie about the most common, but false, accusation against the CAG, that it was responsible for the murder of a woman in a McDonald’s diner in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, in 2014. The murder was actually perpetrated by another, smaller religious movement, and the movie includes a statement from the very voice of the main assassin, who was executed in 2015, that she never had any contact with the CAG.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
About The Church of Almighty God
The Church of Almighty God is a new Chinese church. Since its establishment in 1991, the church has grown rapidly and now has about 4 million members throughout China. As a new religious movement outside of those approved by the Chinese Communist Party, the church has suffered severe persecution. The church has four congregations in South Korea.
A collection of academic articles on the Church is available here.
Please find the 2018 Annual Report here:
Studies and analyses from the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) are available here:
About religious liberty and human rights in China, see Bitter Winter:
Bitter Winter is an online magazine published in English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish and German.
It was launched in May 2018 by the Center for Studies on New Religions, headquartered in Torino, Italy. Scholars, journalists, and human rights activists from different countries are working together to give the voice for the voiceless by publishing news, documents, and testimonies about persecutions against all religions in China.
The unique feature of Bitter Winter is its network of several hundred correspondents in all Chinese provinces. At high risk for their security – some have been arrested – they report daily on what happens in China and how religions are treated or mistreated. They often supply exclusive photographs and videos.