China's legislators are discussing harsher punishment for those involved in cults or superstitious activities that hamper the implementation of laws and regulations.
According to a draft amendment to the Criminal Law, deliberated on Wednesday, in serious cases the maximum punishment may be extended to life imprisonment, in addition to fines or confiscation of property.
The same punishment may also be meted out to those who cause death or heavy casualties as a result of cult activity or using superstition to deceive.
The draft amendment was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, for a second reading during its bimonthly session, which runs from Wednesday to July 1.
Currently, the maximum sentence for those found guilty of cult-related crimes is 15 years in prison.
According to the draft amendment, in minor cases violators will be stripped of their political rights, sentenced to no more than three years in prison and fined.
Harsher punishment will be given to those found guilty of crimes including rape or fraud, according to the draft amendment.