China arrests nearly 1,000 doomsday 'cult' members: Source: www.sinodaily.com - Friday, December 21, 2012
China has arrested nearly 1,000 people in a crackdown on a Christian
sect that spread doomsday rumours and targeted communist rule, state
media said Thursday ahead of the supposedly Mayan-foretold apocalypse.
The Christian-inspired group "Almighty God" has been accused of
spreading doomsday rumours apparently linked to the ancient Mayan Long
Count calendar and urging followers to slay the "red dragon" of
communism, state media reports said.
Close to 1,000 followers of the sect, which state-run media labels an
"evil cult" -- the same description it applies to the banned Falun Gong
group -- have been held in a nationwide crackdown that began last week,
state-run CCTV reported.
Police detained more than 350 Almighty God members in the southwestern
province of Guizhou, while in the northwestern province of Qinghai more
than 400 were held for "gathering unlawfully", the Beijing Times
Smaller numbers have been held in other areas across the country.
Almighty God predicts that three days of darkness will begin on Friday,
and has called on its members to overthrow China's ruling Communist
Party, which it refers to as "the big red dragon", the state-run Global
It has also told believers that a new era presided over by a "female
Jesus" has arrived and that tsunamis and earthquakes will rock the
world, the Global Times said.
The apocalypse predictions have received widespread coverage in China,
thanks in part to the success of the Hollywood disaster film "2012",
which was inspired by the supposed Mayan prophecy.
Chinese state-run media have condemned the group in lurid detail, with
the China Youth Daily reporting that Almighty God "even uses 'sex
communication', calling on female members to use their sex appeal to
seduce single men".
The sect was founded in the early 1990s, but has remained secretive in
the face of government intolerance of non-official religious groups.
Group members use pseudonyms such as "Little White Rabbit" or "Doggy" to
conceal their identities, and are often not allowed to carry mobile
phones or other communication devices, China Business View magazine
China's Communist Party does not tolerate challenges to its authority
and has brutally cracked down on religious groups that refuse to toe the
party line, including the Buddhist-inspired Falun Gong, which was
banned in the late 1990s.
Authorities were shocked when Falun Gong was able to quietly mass
thousands of silent protesters at key symbolic locations including
Beijing's Tiananmen Square and the central leadership compound of
China has a long history of religiously-inspired anti-government
movements, most notably the nineteenth century "Taiping Heavenly
Kingdom", led by a Christian convert who gathered millions of followers
in an attempt to overthrow the emperor.
Earlier this week CCTV quoted police in Qinghai as saying their
investigation into the Almighty God sect was related to stability
maintenance and would be linked to "our anti-self-immolation fight".
The comment was a reference to nearly 100 Tibetans setting themselves on
fire since 2009 in protest at China's rule of its Tibetan-inhabited
regions, which include Qinghai.