Chinese readings: A Real Mystery Story in Lop Nur 失踪 (Missing) 1 [Elmentary]

Posted by Grace Feng on March 7, 2013

Have you ever heard of a place called 罗布泊 Luóbùbó Lop Nur? When you look at the picture below, it’s hard to believe that the desert you’re looking at was actually the second largest inland lake in China in the history. However, due to both natural reasons and human intervention, the lake was finally dried up after 1972. The area of 罗布泊 Luóbùbó has attracted lots of archaeologists and adventurers to explore its mysterious Tocharian culture and unique landscape.

What’s more enchanting about Lop Nur is, the large dried up lake basin has secretly swallowed many of its visitors without mercy. Among them, there had been one unresolved case, no matter how many people had tried, no matter how hard people had tried, 33 years later, it is still kept as a mystery: the missing of a famous renowned scientist: 彭加木 Péng jiā mù.

I’d like to write down the story in Elmentary level Chinese. You’re recommended to read the Chinese version first without any help from its English translation. After you’ve done that, move on with pinyin, vocab and translation to help you with more in-depth learning.

You’re always welcomed to leave your feedback, thanks!

彭加木 Péng jiā mù was the leader of a nine-person scientific exploration team that set out to 罗布泊 Luóbùbó Lop Nur on May 2, 1980. They first spent a month to explore across Lop Nur from north to south. After only 5 days’ rest, they headed east into Lop Nur again. On June 16, they only had very little water, food and gas left, that’s when the story began…

Chinese readings: A Real Mystery Story 失踪 (Missing) [Upper Beginner]

罗布泊 Lop Nur

(photo credit:  www.yn.xinhuanet.com)


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Download mp3 here: missing01.mp3

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 [simplified Chinese]

失踪  [1]


1980年6月16日, 罗布泊。

正午, 太阳如火.


一个队员打开水箱. 水箱里的水很浑. “这水不能喝了!”

彭加木看了看水箱里的水, 问他,”我们还有多少能喝的水?”










shī zōng  [1]


1980 nián 6 yuè 16 rì, Luóbùbó。

zhèngwǔ, tàiyang rúhuǒ.

” duì zhǎng, nǐ kàn!”

yī gè duìyuán dǎkāi shuǐxiāng. shuǐxiāng lǐ de shuǐ hěn hún. ” zhè shuǐ bùnéng hē le!”

Péng jiā mù kàn le kàn shuǐxiāng lǐ de shuǐ, wèn tā,” wǒmen háiyǒu duōshao néng hē de shuǐ?”

duì yuán kàn le kàn qítā de shuǐxiāng, duì Péng jiā mù shuō,” háiyǒu liǎng tiān néng hē de shuǐ。”

Péng jiā mù kànkan Luóbùbó zhè piàn shāmò, yòu kànkan zìjǐ de chēduì hé rén, duì tā de duìyuán shuō,” wǒmen kěyǐ xiàng bùduì yào shuǐ。 dàn bùduì hěn yuǎn。”

duìyuán shuō,” duìzhǎng, bùduì huì yǒubànfǎ kuài yīxiē gěi wǒmen sòng shuǐ de。”

Péng jiā mù diǎn le diǎn tóu,” èn, wǒmen hái yào qìyóu, méiyǒu qìyóu, wǒmen jiù méibànfǎ zǒu chūqù le。”

nàtiān wǎnshang, Péng jiā mù hé jiǔ gè duìyuán zàiyīqǐ kāihuì。 dàjiā dōu tóngyì xiàng bùduì yào shuǐ hé qìyóu。

nà wǎn jiǔ diǎn bàn, Péng jiā mù xiàng bùduì fā xìnxī, yào bùduì sòng shuǐ hé qìyóu。


[vocabulary table]

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
失踪 失蹤 shi1 zong1 to be missing; to disappear
水箱 水箱 shui3 xiang1 water tank
hun2 dirty; muddy
沙漠 沙漠 sha1 mo4 desert
队员 隊員 dui4 yuan2 team member
队长 隊長 dui4 zhang3 captain; team leader
办法 辦法 ban4 fa3 means; method
一些 一些 yi1 xie1 some; a little;
汽油 汽油 qi4 you2 gasoline
同意 同意 tong2 yi4 to agree; to consent
部队 部隊 bu4 dui4 army
信息 信息 xin4 xi1 message


[traditional Chinese]

失蹤  [1]


1980年6月16日, 羅布泊。

正午, 太陽如火.


一個隊員打開水箱. 水箱裏的水很渾. “這水不能喝了!”

彭加木看了看水箱裏的水, 問他,”我們還有多少能喝的水?”








[English translation]


Missing  [1]


Lop Nur, June 16, 1980.

At noon, the sun was burning.

“Chief, look at this!”

A team member opened a water tank, the water inside was turning dirty. “We can’t drink this water!”

Peng Jia Mu looked inside the water tank and asked, “How much drinkable water we have left?”

The team member checked other water tanks and told him, “We still have drinkable water for another two days.”

Looking at the desert of Lop Nur and his own group of cars and men, Peng Jia Mu said to his team member :”We can ask the army to send us water, but the army is far away.”

The team member said,”the army should be able to find a way to send water to us soon.”

“Um, we also need gas, without gas, we can not find other ways to get out of here.”

That night, Peng Jia Mu and all nine team members had a meeting, they all agreed to ask for the army to send them water and gas.

At 9:30 that night, Peng Jia Mu sent a message to the army, asking for water and gas.


To be continued …


Reading Comprehension Test of 失踪 (Missing) 1

Congratulations - you have completed Reading Comprehension Test of 失踪 (Missing) 1 . You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Why the team member checked other water tanks?

to see if any water tank was broken


to see if there was anything in those water tanks


to see how long their water supply last

Question 2
What did the chief say about asking help from the army?

ask army to send them not only water, but also gas


ask army to bring them out of Lop Nur


do not ask help from the army

Question 3
What did they all agree on in the meeting?

to ask the army to get them out of Lop Nur


to ask the army to deliver water and gas for them


to ask the army to deliver water and food for them

Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 3 questions to complete.


To navigate other chapters of short story "失踪", click here:


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11 Responses to “Chinese readings: A Real Mystery Story in Lop Nur 失踪 (Missing) 1 [Elmentary]”

  1. nothing


    03-08-2013 4:22 pm

    Hello Grace, how do you say ‘mystery story’ in Chinese? 神秘的故事?


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-08-2013 7:32 pm

      In Chinese, mystery story is usually called 悬疑故事 or 悬念故事. :-)



  2. nothing


    03-09-2013 12:27 pm

    Thanks Grace.Oh, in case anyone wants to know how to pronounce those two phrases, it is: 悬疑故事 xuányí gùshì and 悬念故事 xuánniàn gùshì.


  3. nothing

    Jessie Langfelder:

    03-28-2015 9:38 pm

    Is this a typing error? 對員看了看其他的水箱,對彭加木說,”還有兩天能喝的水。” The first word 對員 should be 隊員. The same mistake is also here: “對長,你看!” Here 對長 should be 隊長.


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-29-2015 4:10 am

      Hi Jessie, you’re absolutely right, it’s a typo. Thanks a lot for pointing this out, I just update it with correction. :-)



  4. nothing

    Luqman Michel:

    12-03-2015 12:43 am

    Hi Grace,
    Excellent work done by you.
    Unfortunately there are far too many mistakes in the pin yin transcribing.
    I have tried emailing to you to no avail.


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-04-2015 3:30 am

      Hi Michel, I re-read the pinyin section and corrected a few mistakes. Sorry about that.

      Do you see more mistakes?

      Thanks for letting me know,



  5. nothing

    Luqman Michel:

    12-09-2015 4:01 am

    Sorry Grace, I happened to see your response only today. Grace, your web site is excellent for learners of Mandarin like me. Unfortunately many who depend on pin yin will have a problem as there are far too many mistakes in all the pinyin section.
    As I did not get an email from you I thought…..
    Anyway, I want to thank you for the wonderful work you have done.
    Email me and I may be able to list out what I think need changes and you may make the required changes as deemed fit.
    Luqman Michel


  6. nothing

    Luqman Michel:

    12-09-2015 4:09 am

    You may not have control over the following but just in case:
    When one points the cursor over the words the words highlighted are:
    faxin and xi. I believe it should be fa and xinxi.

    There are many such instances which will be confusing to early learners.

    Regret the nit picking but I believe it will help new learners quite a bit.
    Luqman Michel


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-09-2015 8:43 pm

      Hi Luqman,

      Sorry can’t do anything to fix the popup annotation. It’s all driven by an automation tool powered by mandarinspot.com. Let’s imagine it was a robot adding the pinyin annotation and it did have difficulties identifying the affinity of a character from time to time. Should it belong to the left character, or the right character? There should be ways to improved… but that is beyond me at this moment.

      Regarding the posted pinyin section, I also use the annotation tool on that site. Honestly, that site has done a very good job on it. I’ve used other sites before so I know. I usually proofread once to correct mistakes. But sometimes did I miss some. Any error raised by my readers are highly appreciated.




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