The Supreme People's Court of Jiangsu province has found a "Church of Almighty God" cult member guilty of strangling her daughter's classmate during a so-called exorcism, Legal Daily website reported on Thursday.
Cult member Xu Fang was sentenced to life imprisonment for intentional homicide and ordered to pay 22,990 yuan (S$4,610) to the relatives of the victim.
Xu had the classmate of her daughter, whose surname is Guan, staying with her in the belief she could give the young woman mental treatment.
On Jan 30, 2013, Xu "exorcised" Guan with her daughter and son, thinking Guan was possessed by "the evil spirit." The three family members hit Guan's head with a chair and strangled her neck, which led to the victim's death.
The court named Xu as the principal offender in the case.
The "Church of Almighty God" is one of the most dangerous cult organisations in the country, the report said. It manipulates people who have weak faith and little education into doing illegal things.
Last month in a case that sent shockwaves through the country, six members of the same cult beat a woman to death in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, because she refused to join their order. The main suspects were arrested and showed no remorse, according to the latest Xinhua report.
The cult first came to light in the 1990s in Henan province. It claims that Jesus was resurrected in the form of Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect's founder, Zhao Weishan, who is also known as Xu Wenshan. The couple allegedly fled to the United States in 2000.
China lists 14 illegal cults, including Falun Gong and "Church of Almighty God". Nine key members of "Church of Almighty God" were arrested in Changde, Hunan province on June 5.
Previously, five "Church of Almighty God" cult members were sentenced to at least 3 years in prison in Henan province. Four others in Liaoning province were sentenced to 3 to 4 years.