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Four killed in Chinese family exorcism • Wednesday February 12, 2003

Sapa, Feb. 12, 2003

A family in north China’s Shanxi province beat to death four of its members who were suspected of being possessed by ghosts during a deadly exorcism, state media said on Wednesday.

Sixteen members of the family gathered at the home of one of its members on February 4 and for the next three days, they tried to drive the evil spirit out of some family members by beating them with sticks, a report in the People’s Daily website said.

By February 7, four relatives, including a man who wanted to hold the exorcism and a four-year-old child were beaten to death, the report said.

The incident happened in Nanxizhuang village in Linfen city’s Xiangning county.

Police later received a report of the incident and arrested several of the family members.

The Chinese communist government campaigned against superstition as soon as it took over control of the country in 1949, but after more than 50 years superstitious beliefs remain strong in some places, especially among poor, uneducated rural residents.

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