According to the Asia Times, a screening of the 3D film "2012" in China last month has prompted a number of Chinese people to act out in panic for the doomsday prophecy and a heightened sense of importance for apocalyptic coverage in the media.
The online newspaper reported several instances of rash behavior which happened after the screening of the apocalypse film last month ahead of December 21.
One woman mortgaged her apartment in Nanjing for 3 million yuan ($482,000), took out her entire family savings and even borrowed money from friends in preparation for the end of the world.
"Since the world will soon come to an end and we'll all be gone, what should we keep our property and money for?" the woman told The Asia Times, which pointed out she is an educated university professor.
Another man, a carpenter in Chongqing, spent 110,000 yuan of his family savings "dining and wining" despite the birth of his new daughter. Similarly, a man in Xinjiang spent 1 million yuan of his family's savings to build an "ark" to flee to. A businessman in Zhejiang got a similar idea when he decided to advertise for "modern Noah's arks" for 1 to 5 million yuan. He said he received 21 orders since he advertised the places to be safe for even nuclear radiation.
Prompted by an end of the world report, a pair of cousins in Zhejiang quit their jobs and went on a robbing spree, committing 12 thefts in two months. They were eventually caught by the police amidst a binge on food and drinking.
Another woman in Hohhot threw all of her possessions out of window, believing they wouldn't provide value after doomsday.
So why all of the fuss over the end of the world? The Asia Times said many blame an "ideological vacuum" which causes many to believe "any novel ideas." It also cited the cause as a "growing sense of security" in Chinese society.
"Life nowadays seems to be full of crises," the newspaper wrote. "When you eat, you are worried over food safety. When you invest, you are worried you may lose all your money. When you travel you are worried about the possibility of a fatal accident. When you turn on TV, you see wars and disasters. When you are to get married, you are worried that you cannot afford owning a home. When you are sick, you are worried that you cannot afford medical care... Thus some people become increasingly nervous and anxious, thinking a world full of uncertainties and crises is close to its destruction."