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China arrests 96 in doomsday cult's birth province

(China Daily)

15:00, December 22, 2012

ZHENGZHOU- Police in central China on Saturday said a crackdown on a cult that spreads doomsday rumors has netted 96 people at the cult's birth province, as hundreds were arrested across the country.

The suspected "Almighty God" cult members were arrested in Henan province where the sect was founded in 1990. The cult, promising salvation for followers before an impending apocalypse, extorted money from believers and warned of lightening strike for those who do not obey, police said.

But crime experts said the cult will not disappear after the so-called apocalypse on December 21, as their guiding principle is to battle the "Great Red Dragon," a euphemism for the Communist Party of China, and set up a country run by the "Almighty God."

The sect, also known as "Eastern Lightning," claims to be an offshoot of Christianity, but would be barely recognizable to Western Christians. It claims that Jesus has been resurrected as a Chinese woman.

Police said they have found cases in which hard-core believers shelled out family assets, tore apart the family, and kids abandoning study.

The arrests in Henan were made before December 19. Police said they will stay vigilant and continue to crack down on the cult according to the laws.

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