By Michael Evans
A greater percentage of people in China believe that the world will end today than in any other country, according to a CCTV report.
One in ten people believe that Dec. 21 marks the end of the world, according to a survey conducted by the state-run broadcaster.
Those who can afford it (and some who can’t) are searching for a way out. Zhejiang inventor Yang Zongfu, who in August unveiled his radiation-proof, fire-proof “Atlantis Ark,” says he has been unable to build enough arks to meet demand from buyers.
Yang has already completed 15 arks, which sell for as much as 5 million yuan, but has informed 11 other customers that they will have to face the apocalypse empty handed, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.
Buyers hail from various places, including Guangdong and Beijing, but Yang said the largest orders were placed by businessmen from the coal-rich province of Shanxi . All have demanded anonymity.
“They don’t want their friends or neighbours knowing,” Yang said. “People might come to seize it when doomsday comes.”
Meanwhile, the number of “cult” members arrested for preaching the apocalypse has reached 1,000, including 17 detained in Beijing.
Chinese media have reported extensively on the Church of the Almighty God in recent days, with articles accusing the group of brainwashing and using promises of cash, motorcycles, and sex to entice would-be believers.
Should the world, by chance, not actually end today, a handful of people in Wuhan have slightly more of a reason to be happy than the rest of us.
A media company in the Hubei capital notified employees Monday that they would be given a six day New Year’s vacation next week “if we are still alive after Dec. 21, 2012.”