China has arrested at least 93 people for spreading rumours about an impending apocalypse, state news agency Xinhua reports.The agency reports that at least 37 of those arrested were members of the Christian “Almighty God” cult — a later tweet from the agency suggested 101 members had been arrested.
According to Xinhua, the “Almighty God” cult was founded in 1990 and requires its members to give up all their possessions to the group. The cult believes in a Mayan doomsday scenario that predicts the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for 3 days starting on December 21.
Police are also said to have seized a large number of “banners, discs, slogans, books and printing machines”.
Speculation about a Mayan apocalypse has spread widely in China, circulated largely by online rumours. While most of the speculation appears to be tongue-in-cheek, a strange phenomenon that resulted in “three suns” over the sky in Shanghai last week lead many to question their own beliefs.