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China arrests more than 800 doomsday 'cult' members

Published on Dec 20, 2012 1:24 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - China has arrested more than 800 people in a crackdown on a Christian sect which spread doomsday rumours and challenged the ruling Communist party, local media said on Thursday.

The Christian-inspired group "Almighty God" has been accused of spreading doomsday rumours apparently linked to the ancient Mayan calendar and urging followers to slay the "red dragon" of communism, state media reports said.

More than 800 followers of the sect, which state-run media labels an "evil cult" - the same description it applies to the banned Falungong group - have been held in a nationwide crackdown that began last week, the Beijing Times 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 report said. Smaller numbers have been held in other areas across the country.

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