Chinese officials have detained a total of almost a hundred people for spreading rumors of the world's end come December 21.
Doomsday fear has officially hit China, as several citizens prepare for the forthcoming 'end' in various ways. Some cases have been seen as harmless, however one religious group has caught the attention of law enforcement.
State-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the arrests were made across the nation, in seven different provinces, including most recently, 37 members of the Christian-inspired "Almighty God" cult, sometimes called Eastern Lightning, in northwestern China's Qinghai Province. The group believes that the only way to survive the end of days is to be a believer of the "Almighty God" group.
The members of the various religious groups have been arrested after distributing material including pamphlets, books, and CDs to the public claiming that the Mayan calendar's end-of-the-world predictions will become reality this week.
Police officials reportedly seized several banners, discs, slogans, books, printing machines and other propaganda materials.
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The Global Times reported that police officials arrested the cult members for proselytizing and handing out pamphlets and sending text messages. The Almighty God group also believes that the survivors of the doomsday will be greeted by a "female Jesus", while nonbelievers will all perish.
Though the Almighty God group is still very much a minority, Chinese officials are probably fearful of social chaos that fears of the end of the world could cause. Historically, the Chinese government has tried to suppress the group because of its millenarian practices which could threaten social balance if they became popular.
The Almighty God group is a small force, but an unrelenting one. The report said that Almighty God members attempting to infiltrate a Christian church in Chengdu, Sichuan province, were expelled from the congregation after their identities were discovered by one of the parishioners. Churchgoers were also on the receiving end of one of the several mass-texts that were sent out by the cult.
"A big eye was found in the sun on December 9 in Beijing, and the female Jesus manifested herself with her name. Great tsunamis and earthquakes are about to happen around the world," part of the text message read.
The group is notorious for luring in its members and reportedly using brainwashing techniques. Traditions of the cult include members giving all belongings to cult leaders, and female "erotic sacrifices".