Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Religious Unrest in China In Lead-up to Dec. 21

Walter Russel Mead writes about the "Oriental Lightening" cult:
China’s rulers past and present have tended to be anxious about upstart religious cults. The Chinese Communist Party is no exception, and is worried about another such group today. The Financial Times reports:
Police across China are rounding up members of a quasi-Christian doomsday cult who have been preaching the end of the world and urging people to launch a “decisive battle” to slay the “big red dragon” of the Communist party.
The group, which preaches the second coming of a female Jesus, appears to have adapted an ancient Mayan prophecy that some people believe predicts the end of the world on December 21 2012. . . .
“They are telling everyone that on Friday the sun will rise in the west and then disappear for three days and then there will be 72 days of terrible natural disasters starting from January 1 2013,”
The “Oriental Lightning” cult has a colorful story of its own, believing that Jesus has returned as a young Chinese woman named “Lightning Deng”, who has written a third testament. The group may have over a million members, and, like the Falun Gong before it, its teachings have been outlawed and its members violently oppressed by the Chinese government. Their founder appears to live in the United States, although few other specifics are known.
Could this be a bad omen for the Communist Party? Traditionally in China the rise of religious cults (along with proliferation of corrupt officials and major earthquakes) have been seen as signs that a dynasty is losing its grip. Officials in Beijing are well aware of this and are keen to avoid broadcasting these warning signals to the broader population.

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