Hongbao Zhang, 49, leader of the Zhong Gong movement, fled arrest in China during 2001 to eventual asylum in the United States claiming “religious persecution.”

However, Chinese officials said he was really an “evil cult leader” with a history of crimes against his followers including rape.

Zhang countered that such charges were “trumped up” as a device to suppress his “new religious movement.”

But now the “cult leader” is charged with violent crimes in the US.

It seems Zhang beat up and terrorized his maid. He is charged with five felonies including kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, reports Reuters.

The “cult leader” was released on $300,000.00 bail and is back at his “gated estate” within a pricey California neighborhood. He apparently has no problem raising cash.

Zhang evidently also had the resources to retain one of the most expensive lawyers in California. Robert Shapiro, of O.J. Simpson fame now represents him.

Interestingly, it seems Shapiro may be cultivating “cult leaders” as a lucrative new area for his law practice. The attorney previously represented Amdi Pederson, another alleged “cult leader” that faced criminal extradition proceedings.

It seems rather than being “persecuted,” as Zhang once claimed, he might just be exactly what the Chinese authorities have said all along, a criminal “cult leader.” And he is certainly living a life of luxury in the US, with a staff of servants in his “gated estate.”

Maybe human rights activists who so readily crusade for alleged “cult leaders” such as Li Hongzhi, the exiled leader of Falun Gong, should take a closer look before believing their claims and embracing their cause?


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