A Beijing soccer fan refused to let the small matter of his house burning
down disturb his enjoyment of Tuesday's World Cup match between France and
A fire broke out in a hutong in the centre of the Chinese capital at 3am
local time on Wednesday -- kickoff time in Hanover -- and gutted the traditional
courtyard dwelling, the Beijing Daily Messenger reported.
"When the neighbours shouted 'fire!', I took my little baby and ran out in my
nightclothes," the man's wife told the paper.
"My husband paid no attention to the danger, just grabbed the television and
put it under his arm.
"After getting out of the house, he then set about finding an electric socket
to plug in and continue watching his game."
The anti-social timing of the matches broadcast from Germany, which is six
hours behind China, has forced some Chinese fans to go to great lengths to
follow the action.
One man quit his job in Beijing to return to his hometown Chongqing so he
could watch the whole tournament uninterrupted.
State news agency Xinhua reported that the 23-year-old's boss at the IT
company had offered him a pay rise, but he turned it down flat, saying the World
Cup was more important than his job.
The Guangzhou Daily reported that local police were forced to release a thief
arrested for stealing a mobile phone when the victim refused to press charges
because he did not want to miss the start of a match.
Although there are also many female World Cup fans in China, one man in the
southeastern city had to sign a contract with his wife agreeing to do all the
housework during the month of the finals so he could watch the matches at night.
Another from Putian, Fujian province, took a less diplomatic approach, Xinhua
When his cheers during the Argentina-Ivory Coast match woke his wife and she
switched off the television, he locked her in their bedroom and settled back
down to watch the game ignoring her loud protests.