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Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, December 20, 2012
More than 400 members of a fringe Christian group that preaches that Jesus has reappeared as a woman in Central China have been arrested for spreading doomsday theories and inciting people against the government, state media reported.

The “Almighty God” cult, which is also named “Oriental Lightning,” uses the name of Christianity to recruit members, expands its influence through illicit means, and carries out illegal underground activities and crimes, Global Times reported.

The cult members recently latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun would not shine and electricity would not work for three days beginning on December 21.

The followers have been detained in the remote northwestern province of Qinghai since last week with large amounts of printed and digital materials confiscated, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

On Monday, Xinhua News agency said 37 members of “Almighty God” had been detained in Qinghai, while 56 others had been detained around China for prophesying the end of the world on December 21, when the Mayan Long Count calendar expires.

“On December 5-6, eight cases involving illegal propaganda incited by members of the cult took place in Qinghai.

Following the crackdown, the cult started spreading reactionary propaganda,” the paper said.