China / Society

China cracks down on doomsday rumor cult

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-19 23:47

XINING - More than 600 members of the "Almighty God" cult across China have been detained for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse on December 21.

The cult, established in 1990 in central China's Henan Province, has promised salvation to those who join before "doomsday."

Most of the cult members apprehended by police were detained for 5 to 10 days for disturbing social order, in accordance with the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administrative Penalties for Public Security.

Police have detained more than 400 "Almighty God" cult members in northwest China's Qinghai Province. A large number of leaflets, banners, computer discs, slogans, books and printing machines were seized by police.

"Advice before catastrophe: Satan's men will be extinct. Only the 'Almighty God' can save man. Anybody who resists God will go to hell," reads one leaflet.

In east China's Zhejiang Province, police have detained 58 cult members in Lanxi City. The members, aged 18 to 58, were apprehended for spreading rumors and proselytizing.

"The cult is different from other religions. They spread doomsday rumors," said Cao Wei, a police officer with the Shanghua police station of Lanxi City.

Cult members ask new believers to write letters of assurance to show their loyalty to the "Almighty God" and to evangelize, Cao said.

"I must preach to 100 people today, or I will be cursed," according to a letter written by one member.

A total of 42 "Almighty God" cult members in Luzhou City of southwest China's Sichuan Province and 27 in Foshan City of south China's Guangdong Province have been detained by police this month for spreading doomsday rumors, according to local public security departments.

The public security department of southwest China's Guizhou Province announced Wednesday that it had detained 141 "Almighty God" cult members by Tuesday.

Zhang Xue preached to her family members in order to "save them."

She told them that disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, pestilence, plane crashes and environmental degradation are the punishments the "Almighty God" metes out to human beings.

Special coverage:

Doomsday doomed?

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