China Arrests 500 Over Mayan Apocalypse Rumors
Doomsday scenario cited as motive for school stabbing suspect
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 17, 2012 9:21 AM CST
Updated Dec 18, 2012 10:01 AM CST
A detail of a replica of the Sixth Monument, which mentions the 13th Baktun, the end of a major 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar, is seen on display at the Mayan Museum in Cancun.   (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

(Newser) – In the US, we mostly laugh off the Mayan-predicted apocalypse that will probably eradicate us all in a few days. But in China, it's serious business. Authorities there have now arrested more than 500 members of the banned Christian "Almighty God" cult for allegedly spreading doomsday prophesies, the AP reports. Police also seized leaflets, DVDs, books, and other materials warning of the impending apocalypse. The cult believes that the "sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21," the state-run Xinhua news service reported.

Then again, perhaps China has good reason to try to clamp down on the rumors; according to another report, such prophesies were a motivating factor in the knife attack on 23 children at an elementary school on Friday. The suspected slasher, identified as Min Yongjun, "had been strongly psychologically affected by rumors of the upcoming end of the world," Xinhua reported. If you are similarly being psychologically affected, we urge you to calm down and read this or this.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Dec 18, 2012 11:34 PM CST
Given China's history, the only surprise is how restrained their reaction was. For as everyone knows, its Civil War (the 1850-1864 Tai Ping Rebellion ) -- which lasted 3 times longer than the American Civil War, made the US Civil War seem puny and insignificant in comparison, killing 20 million people and destroying hundreds of cities -- was started by a cult, under a leader who thought he was the brother of Jesus Christ, that spread like wildfire throughout China.
Dec 18, 2012 10:42 AM CST
Sounds like China found an excuse to tie up some loose ends.
Dec 18, 2012 10:11 AM CST
So is it 500 or 93? *Newser ninja edit: fixed.