China cracks down on ‘doomsday’ rumors
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Park Geun-hye, 60, the daughter of former president, is a strong candidate at the presidential elections. REUTERS photoChina has detained dozens of people, some of whom it terms doomsday cult members, as part of a nationwide crackdown on rumors about a supposed forthcoming apocalypse, the state news agency Xinhua said yesterday.
Authorities in five different areas have detained 52 people for spreading predictions of a Dec. 21 “doomsday” linked to the ancient Mayan calendar. Those detained include 34 people in the eastern province of Fujian, and two in the central city of Wuhan who handed out leaflets about the apocalypse at transport facilities.
“People have fabricated and spread rumors about the ‘end of the world’, caused trouble by tricking people out of money, and disturbed social order,” the report cited police in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing as saying.
A Christian group known as “Almighty God,” which has labeled an “evil cult,” has also been targeted in the crackdown. Thirty-seven group members were detained in the northwestern province of Qinghai. The group has called on its members to overthrow China’s ruling Communist Party, which it refers to as “the big red dragon,” and tells believers that a new era, presided over by a “female Jesus,” has arrived.