(CNN) — Members of a fringe Christian group in China have been rounded up for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse, pegged to the Mayan calendar.
Known as the “Almighty God” cult, the group latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21, an official with the Department of Public Security in the northwest province of Qinghai told CNN.
Group members would spread doomsday rumors door-to-door or at public venues and claimed only they could save people’s lives, according to authorities.
The South China Morning Post reports nearly 1,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown, ahead of the supposedly Mayan-foretold apocalypse.
According to SCMP, the cult was established in 1990 in central China and requires its members to surrender their property to the group.
December 21, 2012, is the endpoint of a more than 5,000-year Great Cycle marked on the “Long Count” calendar of the Mayans — an ancient native American civilization.
Some say this date marks the end of the world, while other suggest it marks the beginning of a new era.