Members of banned cult face murder charge in China

Five alleged members of an outlawed religious cult are facing trial in China for the murder of a woman at a McDonald's in May.

The defendants are accused of beating the woman to death after she turned down requests for her phone number in Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province.

Members of the Quannengshen 'Almighty God' cult stand trial in Hengshui City Credit: Reuters/CCTV

Chinese state media reports that police have arrested almost 1,000 members of the Quannengshen group in recent days, accusing them of a spate of murders among other crimes.

Founded in the 1990s in the central Henan Province, the 'Almighty God' cult preaches that Jesus has been reborn in the guise of the founder's wife. It has declared war on the 'Red Dragon' - seen as a thinly-veiled reference to China's Communist party.