Unfolding the Church of Almighty God Cult——Life Story and Faith Journey of Zhao Weishan
In the end of 2012, when the group members took to street, declaring the doomsday apocalypse prediction, Zhao Weishan still remained unknown to the public, even to many of its adherents. After the Zhaoyuan McDonald's Cult Murder happened on May 28, 2014 , the incident was widely reported by the media and drew great attention of the whole community. The cult’s leader Zhao Weishan became the focus and thus came into the eyes of the public. However, about whom he is and what he has done, little is known by the public. People get information mainly from the Internet or from limited information released by the government. If compare these materials, one will find much obsolete, false and contradictory information. The video The First Half Life of the Pretender God shoot by Kaiwind Web, provides detailed and objective information about the Church of the Almighty God. They have interviewed some relevant people and obtained the first hand materials, which are relatively accurate. And in later time, the author has been to Heilongjiang Province and Henan Province for the field study. We sort out our findings in the following parts, in order to present detailed information concerning Zhao Weishan’s life in China and the Church of Almighty God.Zhao WeishanChildhood
Zhao Weishan, formerly called Zhao Kun, was born on December 12, 1951, the son of Zhao Guangfa, a railway worker who also was a Communist. His mother Li Guirong was a worker of railway loading and unloading team. His birthplace Yagou Town, being famous for Northeast Sticky Bean Buns, was a quite small town located at the southeast Acheng District of Harbin, with only about ten minutes' walk around the town (many materials shows his birthplace is Yongyuan Town, 40 miles far away from Yagou Town. Indeed it is the place where he preached.) The most prominent building here was Yagou railway station. Near the station, there was a residential area of old bungalow for the railway workers. Several families lived together in a court, with messy wood fencing around. The houses were only about thirty to forty meters square.
Zhao Weishan's family birthplace of Zhao Weishanlived in the first house of the east courtyard. The family had two boys and eight girls, and he was the third one. As the eldest son in the family, sometimes he would help to do some housework. His brother Zhao Yu, one year younger than him, tells us the stories of their early days' life: They were so poor that had nothing to eat at that time, and had to dig wild plants along the railway for eating. Their dad was fierce, and mother was poor in healthy, treating Zhai Weishan badly. Being brought up in such a family, he did not like to play with others, and was some kind of selfish, disregarding of other people. Ai Fukun is a railway staff of Yagou station who have lived there since he was young. He is four years younger than Zhao Weishan, still calls him Zhao Kun. In his memory, Zhao Weishan's family lived in poverty all the time, They often ran out of food. “He did not like to play with other children. You couldn’t find him among the children. Their house abutted against other houses, and woods were clamped together to separate the yards. Several families shared one public toilet. He always played tricks on neighborhood kids outside the toilet, leaving bad impressions on their parents.”
the primary school he once attendedStudyingZhao Weishan went to the Primary School of Yagou Station, in Mr. Ma Yanchi's class. He wrote a good handwriting and loved sports but not ranked tops. In 1966, when the Cultural Revolution began, he was 15 and studied in the Yagou middle school. Li Juncheng, one of Zhao's classmates at that time, he said that Zhao Kun became a red guard to fight with “rebels” and “royalists”. One time he and several members of the rebel group went to Mr. Ma Wenyan's class, tied his hands behind the back and crowned him a tall paper hat, forcing him to stand in front of the room. Then they made the teacher confess in a 90 degree bow. The teacher nearly died of a heart attack at that time. And the teacher Hu Yasen reviewed Zhao Kun as “a boy being poor in academic performance, naughty and mean-spirited”. Some reports misinformed that he was a physics teacher with a college degree, while he was a railway worker and only graduated from junior middle school indeed.JobsIn 1971, Shanxi railway department recruited workers in northwest of China, Zhao Kun thus got a job of building railway in Shanxi Province. He was 20 this year. According to Li Juncheng, Zhao Kun abandoned his job and went back in less than two years because of the harsh living conditions and unwilling to endure hardships. Then he had nothing to do, just wandered around, stirring up troubles here and there. His father feared his eldest son might go astray, thus retired from his position, to let his son take over his job. From then on, Zhao Kun became the switchman and track worker of Yagou railway station. From then on, he restrained himself from troublesome behaviors. Two years later, he was transferred to Acheng station as a railway maintainer. During this time, He learned carpentry and earned extra money in his spare time. It was also at this period of time, he changed his name Zhao Kun to Zhao Weishan. He complained the name Zhao Kun was obsolete, and asked his brother whether he want to change or not. He then went to the commune with a reference letter from the school, changed his name. His father had quarreled with him because of this matter.MarriageIn 1976, he got acquainted with Fu Yunzhi through introduction. She was a worker in Acheng Chemistry Reagent Company (not Acheng Cake Factory as information on the Internet). They got married one year later. Fu Yunzhi's aunt Huang Shuying, was quite impressed by Zhao Weishan when she first saw him, “handsome and decent, but was short, under 5.3 feet tall”. The newly married couple did not have their own house at that time. Zhao Weishan worked hard then. Later he
Yagou Station, where Zhao Weishan once workedbought a plot of land, and built a house by himself (two tiled-roof houses at Yingbin Hutong in Acheng station, where now is the Hepan Lijing Residential District). It was once a low-lying land. Wastewater flowing from surrounding houses stagnated there. She says, “house could not be built on such a land. Nobody wanted to buy it.” However, Zhao Weishan had enough confidence to change the situation. He bought a skinny cow and a wood cart, with which he moved soil to fill the land in his spare time. Moving four or five carts of soil a day, he almost worked all winter long, filling the land up finally. Then tamped down the earth, and built their house on the solid base. He made the doors, windows, as well as a big wardrobe and a cabinet by himself. Huang Shuying's mother once visited him, and said that what he did was just like the story of Yugong removing the mountains. “Few people could bear such hardships,” she says. When the house was finished, some water still flowed to the front of the house. “You have to pass over the muddy water, then get to their house,” Zhao Qingfang recalls. Their first daughter Zhao Duojia was born in 1979. Because of some health problems, Zhao Weishan preached gospel to her. she believed in Jesus and got well soon. Although it was Zhao Weishan who preached to her, in her eyes, man was just man, he could not be God. After about ten years of marriage life, Fu Yunzhi was divorced from him and got married again.
Fu Yunzhi, Zhao's ex-wifeBeliefHe once had converted to Buddhism and later to Catholicism in 1970s, the time when he was a railway staff. Then he became a Christian and was soon keen on preaching. He said that Christianity was much better than Buddhism and Catholicism. According to Xu Li and Li Yazhen, both of whom believed in Jesus at the same time with Zhao Weishan, they told us that Zhao converted in 1979 (but what Zhao Qingfang said is the year of 1983, which did not match the following facts and their happening time). Before that he had studied “fengshui” from The Book of Changes, and oftenperformed magic arts or drew magic figures for others as a geomancer. He took several apprentices in 1977 when he built his own house, but only Liu Shouxin stayed. The others left because they couldn't stand his strict requirements and fiery temper. Liu Shouxin was the son of Liu Jianliang, an elder of the church. They often came to help Zhao Weishan build the house, meanwhile preached gospel to him. And he received.After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in 1978, a loose religious policy was adopted in the succeeding period of economic reform. After became a Christian, he “had great enthusiasm” (Zhao Qingfang said). He had to work everyday because trains ran busily those days. But he preached gospel everywhere after work, even to those whom he had drawn magic figure for, told by Li Li. Zhao Weishan persuaded his brother Zhao Yu and sisters to believe into Jesus, but no one followed his way. As his brother Zhao Yu says, “Can believing in such thing feed you?” From 1983, Zhao Weishan changed jobs frequently, for sparing more time to preaching. When heard that workers in Acheng Starch factory could take days off because of bad economic efficiency, he fou