Cult leader in southern China sentenced for rape, fraud

BEIJING (AP) — A court in southern China says a man accused of being a cult leader has been convicted of rape and fraud and sentenced to life in prison.

State media reports say Wu Zeheng was accused of selling toxic food, swindling followers and seducing dozens of women with promises of supernatural powers.

Wu was sentenced Friday in Zhuhai City Intermediate People’s Court in the southern province of Guangdong and fined 7.15 million yuan ($1.13 million).

Three of his adherents also were given sentences of up to four years in prison on charges including obstruction of justice.

Wu has accused authorities of persecuting a religious and charitable group.

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