In August this year, the People's Court of Huinong District of Shizuishan, Ningxia, sentenced five members of "Association of Disciples" (Mentuhui) including Li Haiqin according to the law. They were sentenced to fixed-time imprisonment of differing durations from one to four and a half years.
After the hearing, the court identified the defendants. Li Haiqin, Li Cuixia, Zheng Yonggui, Zhang Hongwen, and Wang Hong continued the cultist activities after the country banned the cult organization "Association of Disciples." Even though they received administrative penalties many times, they still refused to amend their activities and continued to actively spread the cult.
Li Haiqin and Wang Hong have actively worked as deacons of two branches of "Association of Disciples": "Hainan District Church" in Inner Mongolia's Wuhai City, and "Huinong District Church" in Ningxia Shizuishan. They set up places for the organization and direction work of the local cults to supervise cult believers. The members transferred cultist information through blue-tooth phones, and used opportunities of field work to pass materials to the local people to convince farmers to believe in the cult. They carried out recruitment to secretly develop their members for a "Whole Village Advancement Plan." (Note: "recruitment" means developing believers and "Whole Village Advancement Plan" means to make the whole village believe in the cult.)
On July 1, 2014, five cult members were arrested while participating in the cultist activity in the Hongbao Jiayuan of Huinong District Hongguozi Village. After the field inspection of the Shizuishan Police Station, they found cultist materials in the phones and portable players of the five defendants. In June 2016, the Court sentenced Li Haiqin to four and a half years fixed imprisonment, and two years for Li Cuixia. Because Zheng Yonggui and others confessed to the crime after arrest, the Court sentenced Zheng Yonggui to one and a half years fixed imprisonment with two years probation and a 2000 CNY fine. Zhang Hongwen was sentenced to one year and two months of fixed imprisonment with two years probation and a 2000 CNY fine. Wang Hong received one year of fixed imprisonment with one and a half years probation and a 2000 CNY fine.
"Association of Disciples" is also known by several names in Chinese: "Three-Salvation Christ", "Two Liang Grains", "the Wilderness and Narrow Gate", "Mengtoujiao", etc. It was founded by Ji Sanbao, a farmer in Shaanxi in 1989. "Association of Disciples" made up the eschatology claiming that there would be great catastrophes at the end of 2000, and whoever didn't believe in Ji Sanbao would be extinguished. They also claimed that medicine was not needed in sickness but only prayer, and that they could raise the dead. They said every person needs "two liang (100 grams) grains" per day, and they don't have to grow crops because God will provide endless food. They are against "Earthly festivals and Holidays" and "association and becoming related with non-believers." They advertise "First earn the people, then the regime." The "disciples" would scam believers for money, which resulted in some believers losing their minds, hurting themselves, and committing suicide. Some believers died due to delayed treatment because of the pseudoscience of "Prayer Healing." The leader Ji Sanbao of the cult died from a car accident near Xi'an in Dec 1997.
Below is a distillation of information from an internal document of the Chinese Public Security Bureau published in 2003, translated by China Source:
Disciples Society/Association of Disciples (门徒会)
Other Names: In Hubei, known as The Narrow Gate in the Wilderness (旷野窄门)
Leader: Ji Sanbao (季三宝, b. 1939/1940; or 季三保, 季忠杰)
Background: Founded in 1989 by Ji, a farmer from Shanxi, this movement spread to fourteen provinces in the PRC and by 1995 had an estimated following of 350,000 people, primarily in rural areas. In 1999, OMF estimated their numbers closer to 500,000. Little is known about the group apart from the official internal document of 2003.
Concerns: Ji claims to be the "Christ established by God." As "God's son," he also claims the power of miracles including healing and resurrecting the dead. The group has a very strong eschatology, encouraging followers to drop out of school or abandon their farms to pray and await ascension to heaven; they predicted the world would end in 2000. They are accused of committing heinous crimes such as abducing women, rape, and fraud. In addition, they are accused of attacking the Party, instigating riots, and resisting family planning policy.