'Doomsday' rumour-mongers held in Chinese crackdown
Published 18/12/2012 | 05:00
NEARLY 100 people have been arrested in China as part of a "pre-Apocalypse" crackdown on doomsday rumour-mongers.
According to China's state media, at least 93 people have been arrested in the lead-up to December 21, which will mark the end of the 5,125-year "long-count" Mayan calendar and, according to some, the end of the world.
The 'Global Times' reported that 37 "cult" members had been arrested in Qinghai province for "brainwashing" people "into believing the end of the world is near". A police source accused the group of predicting that "the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21".
Thirty-four people were arrested in Fujian province and four in Chongqing. The state news agency Xinhua said two of those men had been caught using a loudspeaker to "proclaim the end of the world". There were also arrests in Shaanxi and Hubei provinces.
Recent days have seen Chinese newspapers filled with doomsday-related stories, including reports of "unrest and panic-buying".
Claims emerged yesterday that a man who injured 23 children in a knife attack on a school last Friday may have been "psychologically affected" by the doomsday rumours.
Facing growing online chatter about December 21, authorities have carried out a series of arrests and urged people to report those peddling rumours to call a special telephone hotline. (© Daily Telegraph, London)