China cracks down on 'Doomsday cult'
December 18, 2012 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
The 12th-century Dresden Codex, one of four Mayan manuscripts at the source of doomsday predictions.
- Police: Members of a cult arrested in China for spreading 'doomsday rumors'
- Relates to Mayan prophecy about the world ending on December 21, 2012
- Banners, discs, slogans, books and printing machines were seized by police
Read a version of this story in Arabic.
(CNN) -- Members of a fringe Christian group in China have been rounded up for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse, pegged to the Mayan calendar.
Known as the "Almighty God" cult, the group latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21, an official with the Department of Public Security in the northwest province of Qinghai told CNN.
Group members would spread doomsday rumors door-to-door or at public venues and claimed only they could save people's lives, according to authorities.
What a year for China in 2012 -- what about next year?
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that almost 100 people have been arrested so far, including 37 in Qinghai and 34 in Fujian province in the east of the country.
A large number of banners, discs, slogans, books and printing machines were seized by police, Xinhua said.
According to Xinhua, the cult was established in 1990 in central China and requires its members to surrender their property to the group.
December 21, 2012, is the endpoint of a more than 5,000-year Great Cycle marked on the "Long Count" calendar of the Mayans -- an ancient native American civilization.
Some say this date marks the end of the world, while other suggest it marks the beginning of a new era.
CNN's CY Xu contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general has confessed to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
A group in China escapes from a stuck elevator thanks to one man and his trusty hammer. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Facebook's founder says he taught himself Mandarin and tested his skills with students in China.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
China launched an experimental spacecraft that is scheduled to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Full marks for ingenuity: This was a truly high-tech scam.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0526 GMT (1326 HKT)
The rationale behind Confucius Institutes -- an international chain of academic centers run by an arm of the Chinese government -- is understandable.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0511 GMT (1311 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.