BEIJING: China 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, state media 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, the state news agency Xinhua reported. The apocalypse predictions have received widespread coverage in China, thanks in part to the success of the Hollywood disaster film “2012.”
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, the report said. “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.