Exported Indian cults breed criminals in foreign countries as Chinese experts urge public vigilance

By Global Times staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/15 20:48:41

Followers of the controversial Indian guru Ram Rahim Singh walk outside an ashram in Sirsa, India, on August 27, 2017.

India is a country where religion is prevalent, leaving room for Indian religions to be cultural exports, analysts suggested. However, some religious leaders practice corruption outside the country and disturb public safety, involving many followers in breaking local laws and regulations.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, well known as "Osho," first achieved international notoriety from India in the 1980s when he began publicly advocating his disciples practice "free love," and take part in "his unusual style of meditation, including primal screaming followed by dancing," as The Guardian reported.

Some criticized that Osho Rajneesh used sex and promiscuity to keep his cult members loyal. In 1985, he was caught up in a controversy surrounding a bioterrorism attack in Dallas, Texas, in 1984 during his time in the US. With many controversies, Rajneesh was later banned from entering 21 countries. 

Part of Rajneesh's sexual theories made their way to China, where they were welcomed by those who engaged in illegal activities such as group prostitution.

A Chinese follower of Osho who branded himself a spiritual master after his multiple visits to the Osho base in India was arrested by the police in 2012 after he established a "spiritual" chamber in South China's Guangdong Province to advocate Rajneesh's "wife swinging" and "sexual revolution" ideas, abetting sex congregation during spiritual practice in violation of Chinese law, Guangdong Yangcheng Evening News reported.

In August 2010, police in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province, also cracked down an Osho cult studio where a 54-year-old "disciple of Osho" ran a training course called "21 Days of Mysterious Roses" to promote fornication thought, charging up to 18,000 yuan per person, and living with half a dozen female followers in the name of advocating sexual freedom, Chinese media reported. 

Indian religious "master" Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been arrested and convicted in December 2017 to a 20-year sentence for raping nearly 200 believers. He claims to have more than 60 million followers worldwide.

Swami Nithyananda, another controversial self-styled "man of God" in India with followers worldwide, made headlines after being revealed facing charges of murder, sexual assault, rape and financial fraud over the last few years, Al Jazeera reported.

"Many religious activities disguised as cultural products with truth, intelligence and benevolence, are still a cause for public vigilance," Li Anping, former deputy general-secretary of the China Anti-Cult Association, told the Global Times.

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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