China arrests over 500 in crackdown on apocalyptic groups

Beijing, Dec 20 (IANS/EFE) Chinese authorities have arrested more than 500 people linked to sects and cults that have been predicting that the world will end Friday, including more than 400 people from the so-called "Church of All-powerful God".

The majority of the sect members have been arrested in the western Chinese province of Quinhai, although police have staged raids in several administrative divisions around the country, state-run CCTV television reported.

The sect is predicting "three days of darkness without electricity".

The Church of All-powerful God was founded in 1990.

The police operation against the organization could also have political connotations, given that the brochures that the sect has been distributing contain criticisms of the Communist Party, which the church calls the "great red dragon".

Authorities say that this is a sect with very aggressive methods, given that it forces its new members to turn over their belongings to the organization and is willing to murder those sect members who threaten to leave the community.

--IANS/EFE

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