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Locals warned against doomsday cult

SHANGHAI mobile phone users may receive alert messages today and tomorrow about the doomsday rumor, said Chen Changjun, secretary general of the Shanghai Anti-Cult Association.

"A cult named 'Church of Almighty God' or 'Eastern Lightning' has been spreading the doomsday rumor to lure people into joining the cult and cheat them out of their money. The cult is malicious in motive," Chen said.

Authorities have taken action to crack down on the cult organization and have held nearly 1,000 members for questioning in 12 provinces and municipalities, Chen said.

By Tuesday, police in Guizhou Province had stopped some parades and detained people for spreading doomsday leaflets or preaching the cult using loudspeakers in Guiyang, Tongren, Zunyi and Bijie. More than 20,000 leaflets were confiscated.

Police in Foshan, Guangdong Province also caught 37 cult members for spreading rumors about the doomsday and disturbing social order. In Qinghai Province more than 400 cult members were investigated.

The Church of Almighty God was founded in 1989. It believes the God has returned to earth as a woman, "born to an ordinary family in northern China" to guide the mankind for the third and last time. It said the mankind was guided previously by Jehovah in the Old Testament and by Jesus in the New Testament.

The group preaches that a woman called "Lightning Deng" from Zhengzhou, Henan Province is the second Christ. They are known to employ extreme methods such as kidnapping and torturing to force people to convert to their cult.


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