China executes cult pair for McDonald’s killing



BEIJING // A father and daughter who belonged to a banned Chinese cult were executed on Monday for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The pair were among a group of five members of the Quannengshen cult — a fringe Chinese religious group. They were convicted of attacking the woman, surnamed Wu, after she rebuffed their efforts to recruit her by refusing to give them her phone number.

“Zhang Fan and Zhang Lidong were put to death,” the official news agency Xinhua said on Monday.

Zhang Fan was previously said by state media to be Zhang Lidong’s daughter.

Quannengshen, whose name can be translated as Church of Almighty God, believe that Jesus has been reincarnated as a Chinese woman and refer to the Communist Party as the “great red dragon”.

It was outlawed by the government in the mid-1990s.

Shortly after the May incident, an online video emerged showing a man resembling Zhang Lidong striking out angrily with a pole, shouting “Damn you, devil! Go to hell!” as a woman yelled “Kill her! Beat her to death!”

The three minutes of footage, apparently shot on a mobile phone at the McDonald’s in the eastern Shandong province, only included a fraction of a second of the person thought to be the victim.

The three others convicted over the attack — including another daughter of Zhang Lidong’s — were given prison terms ranging from seven years to life.

China has previously cracked down harshly on groups it labels “cults”, most notably the Falungong spiritual movement, which was banned in the late 1990s.

* Agence France-Presse

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Tax authority targets shisha levy evasion

The Federal Tax Authority will track shisha imports with electronic markers to protect customers and ensure levies have been paid.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director of the tax authority, on Sunday said the move is to "prevent tax evasion and support the authority’s tax collection efforts".

The scheme’s first phase, which came into effect on 1st January, 2019, covers all types of imported and domestically produced and distributed cigarettes. As of May 1, importing any type of cigarettes without the digital marks will be prohibited.

He said the latest phase will see imported and locally produced shisha tobacco tracked by the final quarter of this year.

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