On October 30th, a Chinese court in Zhuhai, in sourthern Guangdong Province, convicted Wu Zeheng, Leader of Hua Zang Dharma, a Buddhist inspired cult, of multiple crimes. Among his offenses, rape.
Wu was found guilty of misusing his holy status to trick women into believing that engaging in sex with him would imbue them with supernatural powers. He was also found guilty of amassing approximately 6.7 million yuan by illegal means, and selling food substances under false pretenses.
ABC News and The Associated Press reported,
“Several female followers believed ‘practicing’ with Wu in bed could help themselves ‘gain supernatural power,’ an excuse Wu used to seduce or coerce dozens of women, including two pairs of sisters and several minors, to have sex with him.”
Zuheng was sentenced to life in prison and fined 7.15 million yuan, equivallent to $1,130,000 USD. But the verdict has come under scrutiny by several organizations that feel the government is examining his behavior unfairly in an attempt to shut down political opposition by the cult.