Stolen Mao Zedong scroll 'worth millions' found cut in half

2020/10/08 21:03

Today's Vocabulary

1. calligraphy (n) 
(the art of producing) beautiful writing, often created with a special pen or brush 

2. burglar (n) 
a person who illegally enters buildings and steals things

3. scroll (n)  
a long roll of paper or similar material with usually official writing on it 

4. deemed (v) 
to consider or judge something in a particular way

5. heist (n) 
a crime in which valuable things are taken illegally and often violently from a place or person

6. auctioned (v) 
a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the person who offers the most money 

Stolen Mao Zedong scroll 'worth millions' found cut in half

A stolen calligraphy scroll said to be worth millions has been found in Hong Kong, after it was cut in half.

Thieves had stolen the scroll by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong from an art collector’s home in a burglary last month. They then sold it at a fraction of its value. It was apparently cut up as the 2.8m-long (9ft) scroll was deemed too long to display, said Hong Kong police.

The scroll contains stanzas of poetry handwritten by the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Its owner has claimed it is estimated to be worth around $300m (£230m), though it is not known how the valuation was obtained.

The scroll was stolen in a massive heist on 10 September, when three men broke into the home of Fu Chunxiao, a well-known collector of stamps and revolutionary art.

The thieves sold one of the pieces to another art collector for just HK$500 ($64; £50) to a purchaser who, according to The South China Morning Post, believed the artwork was a fake. The buyer then saw a public appeal by police, and surrendered himself with both pieces of the scroll on 22 September.

It is unclear who exactly had cut the artwork. Senior superintendent Tony Ho of the Hong Kong police said: “Someone thought the calligraphy was too long… and difficult to show and display. That’s why it was cut in half.”

“It was heartbreaking to see it be torn into two pieces,” Mr.  Fu told the Post. “It will definitely affect its value but the impact remains to be seen.”

In 2019, a calligraphic autograph letter written by Mao Zedong was auctioned off by Sotheby’s for £519,000.

One suspected burglar has also been arrested, but the other two burglars who broke into Mr. Fu’s home still remain at large.


  1. How can you avoid having things stolen from you?
  2. What do you think is the worst crime a person could commit? Why?
  3. What is the best way for police to keep neighborhoods safe?

“In limited professions there's boundless theft.”

William Shakespeare