By LONG TAO
Spring Festival Correspondent
ZHENGZHOU (China Daily Show) – The fireworks are still exploding over the village of Nanren, Henan but for one family, there will be no celebrations this year.
The Zhou household’s enjoyment of this most sacred of Chinese festivals has been destroyed, friends say – by an act of theft despicable even by Henan standards.
As their neighbors ready themselves for the traditional Lantern Festival, marking the official end to the Year of the Dragon, the Zhaos’ lives have come to a standstill, as the 12-strong clan contemplate the whereabouts of a much-treasured DVD.
The four-hour film, a recording of CCTV’s classic 2004 New Year’s Eve Gala, – known as ‘Chunwan’ – had apparently been left in its usual place: underneath a pile of other DVDs, at the back of a closet, in Auntie Wen’s old bedroom, when it was reported absent.
“Grandpa Jin immediately raised the alarm,” said Uncle Han. “But it was already too late. That disc was gone, baby, gone.”
Grandpa Jin (pictured, right and below) says the DVD is all but irreplaceable, and contains such vintage acts as Brother Balloon – a clown with the magic ability to craft balloons into shapes vaguely resembling animals – and a 20-minute skit featuring a young, married couple.
“This was a classic Chunwan, made in the days before gay jokes. The good old days,” Jin explained.
“We have appealed on the Internet for replacement copies but to no avail. Clearly, no one else is willing to part with their precious copy of Chunwan 2004.”
“Some netizens even mocked us,” Jin added. “They still have the gift of laughter – alas, we no longer do.“
Local police have appealed for witnesses, in an attempt to solve a mystery that has baffled the Zhao family for an entire day.
“Who would do such a thing?” wondered one neighbor. “Seriously – who? I’m genuinely curious.”
Others offered their own theories.
“It’s probably been cleared up, along with a bunch of other useless stuff we never use. and chucked out, then maybe picked up by a passing vagabond collecting trash, or something,” said the Jins’ 14-year-old daughter, Peng. “I really don’t think we should get the police involved. We should just move on and forget it. We should definitely not dust for fingerprints.”
But Grandpa Jin observed that there was no other explanation for the errant disc than a criminal act of theft.
“The cops should tear this town apart until they find the devil that did this,” vowed an emotional Lao Jin. “I, for one, will not rest until the culprit faces justice – or at least goes to court.”
Local police seem to be satisfied that foul play is not involved, however.
“The one thing we did before this case was even opened,” said one officer, “before we even got here, in fact, was rule out theft.”