China

China makes 500 doomsday cult arrests

A man displays his son's bloodstained coat in Guangshan, Henan, on 16 December 2012
Image caption Twenty-two young children, including this man's son, were stabbed by the attacker

Chinese police have arrested more than 500 members of a doomsday cult for spreading rumours about the imminent end of the world, state media say.

At least 400 followers of the Almighty God Christian group were detained in western Qinghai province in recent days. Dozens more were held elsewhere.

In Henan province, six officials have been sacked after a knife attack by a suspected doomsday cult disciple wounded more than 20 children.

The attack sparked widespread anger.

The officials sacked had handled the incident improperly, state media said.

A number of people around the world believe that an apocalypse will take place on Friday 21 December, as the Mayan "Long Count" Calendar ends a 5,200-year cycle.

China's state news agency Xinhua describes the Almighty God Christian group as a cult, saying it was established in 1990 in Henan.

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