In China, more so than any other country, mistrust and paranoia are fueling real fears of an apocalypse on Dec. 21, the supposed end of the ancient Mayan calendar. For months, Chinese people have been stockpiling candles, giving away money—and, in one case, building an ark, just in case the destruction of human civilization is brought forth by massive floods.
The government is calling it “the end of the world rumor,” the idea that Mayans did not foresee the world’s existence extending beyond 1,872,000 days, the last of which is Friday. On Dec. 17, police detained almost 1000 members of a religious group for spreading doomsday messages. (The group believes Jesus Christ has returned in the form of a woman from Henan province and that Friday will bring on three days of total darkness)
Carpe diem has also taken on new significance. Marriage registry offices in four cities have maxed out…
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