Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese police arrested almost 1,000 people in a crackdown on the 'Almighty God'. Deemed an evil cult because it believes in an apocalyptic end of the world based on the Mayan Prophecy, the group also predicts the end of Chinese Communism, urging its followers to slay the "red dragon".
Police detained more than 350 Almighty God members in the south-western province of Guizhou; another 400 were arrested in the north-western province of Qinghai. Smaller numbers have been held in other areas across the country.
The cult, which is vaguely inspired by Christianity, expects three days of darkness starting tomorrow and has called on its members to overthrow China's ruling Communist Party.
The group was founded in the early 1990s, and has experienced unprecedented government violence, charged with violence, sexual promiscuity and metaphoric images published in state newspapers.
The Mayan Prophecy, which predicts doomsday tomorrow, has given the authorities an excuse to crack down hard. Many in China believe that something serious like quakes or a tsunami will happen tomorrow.
With due attention to the Chinese's mental health, the police decided to stop the sect from spreading.
Treating it as an "evil cult", it has done the same to as it did with the Falun Gong. The latter promises spiritual and physical well-being through mediation, proper diets and fasting, but has been persecuted for years.
In both cases, the authorities have cracked down because the two religious groups have prophesised the end of Chinese Communism and called on people to turn against the party.
In Chinese history, various religious movements have led to social revolutions. In the 19th century, a Christian convert, Hong Xiuquan, led a famous revolt in the 19th century that mobilised millions of followers in an attempt to overthrow the emperor and build a 'Kingdom of God'.
At the start of the week, CCTV quoted police in Qinghai as saying that their work was related to national security, which is why they arrested Almighty God cult members and Tibetans who want or push for self-immolation.
Curiously, both Tibetans and cult members are enemies of China's dictatorship.