China arrests

AFP, Jan. 20, 2003

BEIJING: Police in central China had arrested up to 176 people in a crackdown on cults, including one which preached an imminent doomsday, state media said on Monday.

The arrests were made in two villages on two occasions last month and early this month after residents in the county of Neixiang in Henan province alerted police to people gathering to pray and wail, the China Police daily said.

Police arrested 78 people in one village on December 25.

On January 6, police seized up to 100 people after receiving a report that a group were gathered inside a house and that all the participants had knelt on the floor and were praying or wailing loudly.

Police “confirmed the group was a cult” and swooped in on the site, the report said.

Those arrested were between the ages of 15 and 45 and were from three counties in Henan in central China. The group frequently met in secret and the leaders often preached the end of the world was coming, the report said.

It said that the “cults… seriously disrupted normal social order.”

Police also confiscated 295 cult books, 120 cassette tapes and nine VCDs during the two sets of arrests.

Chinese authorities have been cracking down hard on religious or spiritual groups not allowed to exist under government restrictions on religion, since it banned the Falungong spiritual group as an evil cult in July 1999.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday January 20, 2003.
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