'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)