Tibetan residents view a photo exhibition promoting science and denouncing cults in Lhasa. (File photo/Xinhua)
A growing religious cult in northwest China's Shaanxi province is calling for followers to spread prophecies of an impending doomsday that can only be avoided by joining a holy war against the Communist Party of China, reports the Shaanxi-based Chinese Business View newspaper.
The cult, which worships an "omnipotent god", is also known as an organization dubbed Oriental Thunder or Authentic God.
China's State Administration of Religious Affairs has characterized the organization as a cult and has begun cracking down on its activities.
The so-called religion is an offshoot of an unorthodox sect of Christianity, introduced into China in the late 1970s. Its founder is Zhao Weishan and the cult's doctrines are based on distorted interpretations of the Christian Bible.
The organization claims that the "era of law under the rule of Jehovah" and "the grace era under the rule of Jesus" are over, giving way to the "era under the rule of the omnipotent god."
The omnipotent god described is embodied in the form of an oriental woman, who will allegedly arrive in China and carry out a "trial" of all human beings. Only believers in the omnipotent god can be saved from the forthcoming doomsday, while unbelievers will be killed by thunder.
The cult urges its followers to engage in a duel under the leadership of the omnipotent god with the "big red dragon" — an obvious reference to the Communist Party of China — and establish a new nation under the rule of the god.
The cult emerged in central Henan province in the 1990s before spreading to many other areas. It encourages its followers to leave their families and devote their lives to its chief, including giving up all their assets and belongings.
Zhao Weishan 趙維山