China’s Ministry of Public Security has asked citizens to stay alert about spiritual courses offered by Indian religious schools, saying that some of them are involved in “sexual assault scandals”. The ministry’s warning, issued on Wednesday, came two days after Taiwanese actor Yi Nengjing, also known as Annie Yi, posted on Weibo lessons by a spiritual school in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, Global Times reported.
Yi posted lessons she had taken from Amma and Bhagavan, the founders of the Oneness University. After a heated debate broke out on the social media platform, Yi claimed she was promoting Indian spiritual lessons because she understands more about family and parents after attending such sessions. She also denied that she intended to sell the lessons or being aware that it was against Chinese law to do so.
The China Anti-Cult Association also issued a warning about the lessons Yi posted. The organisation referred to the case of an Indian religious leader – identified by Global Times as “Singh” – who, it said, was arrested in 2017 for imprisoning and raping 200 women.
The daily said the Oneness University did not respond to its questions. A Beijing-based “anti-cult expert” told the newspaper that the Indian institution taught students about a Mayan prophecy according to which the world was supposed to come to an end in 2012. He said its courses were a mix of Buddhism and Christianity, similar to the doctrine of the South Korean Unification Church, which is considered a cult by Beijing.
The Chinese government officially recognises only Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Daoism, and Buddhism. Cults such as the Falun Gong group have been banned in the country.