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Mother and father Who By no means Stopped Looking Reunite With Son Kidnapped 24 Years In the past


For almost 24 years, the daddy crossed China by motorcycle. With banners displaying pictures of a 2-year-old boy flying from the again of his bike, he traveled greater than 300,000 miles, all in pursuit of 1 purpose: discovering his kidnapped son.

This week, Guo Gangtang’s search lastly ended. He and his spouse have been reunited with their son, now 26, after the police matched their DNA, based on China’s public safety ministry.

In a scene captured by Chinese language state tv, the trio clung to one another tearfully at a information convention on Sunday in Liaocheng, Mr. Guo’s hometown in northern Shandong Province.

“My darling, my darling, my darling,” Mr. Guo’s spouse, Zhang Wenge, sobbed as she embraced the younger man. “We discovered you, my son, my son.”

“He’s been delivered into your fingers, so you want to love him nicely,” Mr. Guo mentioned, attempting to consolation her at the same time as his personal voice shook.

The obvious comfortable ending captivated China, the place Mr. Guo has grow to be one thing of a folks hero. His cross-country odyssey, throughout which he mentioned he was thrown from his bike a minimum of as soon as and slept open air when he couldn’t afford a lodge, impressed the 2015 movie “Misplaced and Love,” starring the famend Hong Kong actor Andy Lau.

After the reunion, Chinese language social media crammed with congratulatory messages. Hashtags concerning the Guo household have been considered tons of of hundreds of thousands of instances. “As we speak, ‘Misplaced and Love’ lastly has an actual comfortable ending,” the film’s director, Peng Sanyuan, mentioned in a video on Douyin, a social media app.

Little one abduction is a longstanding downside in China. There are not any official statistics on the variety of kids kidnapped every year, however officers on the Ministry of Public Safety said this month that they had located 2,609 missing or abducted children to date this 12 months. Various reports estimate the variety of kids kidnapped yearly in China could also be as excessive as 70,000.

Traditionally, youngster abduction was linked, a minimum of partially, to China’s one-child coverage. On the peak of the coverage’s enforcement within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties, some {couples} resorted to purchasing younger boys on the black market to make sure they might have a son, based on research by students at Xiamen College in Fujian Province. Chinese language society has historically favored sons.

Because the central authorities started easing enforcement of the coverage within the early 2000s — earlier than ending it in 2015 — reported abductions fell sharply. Technological advances reminiscent of a nationwide DNA database of lacking kids, stiffer prison penalties and higher public consciousness of kid trafficking have additionally helped curb the issue, mentioned Zhang Zhiwei, government director of an anti-trafficking middle on the China College of Political Science and Legislation.

Nonetheless, the specter of abduction continues to weigh on many Chinese language. On Monday, a number of police departments within the japanese metropolis of Hangzhou issued statements denying viral rumors about tried kidnappings.

Mr. Guo’s son, named Guo Xinzhen at delivery, disappeared on Sept. 21, 1997. He had been enjoying on the door of his dwelling whereas his mom cooked inside, based on interviews the elder Mr. Guo has given through the years.

A frantic Mr. Guo and his spouse, together with household, neighbors and mates, fanned out throughout the area to seek for the boy. However after a number of months, the trouble waned. That was when Mr. Guo connected giant banners printed together with his son’s picture to the again of a bike and got down to discover the boy on his personal.

“Son, the place are you?” the banners mentioned, alongside a picture of the boy in a puffy orange jacket. “Dad is searching for you to return dwelling.”

Over time, Mr. Guo wore out 10 bikes, touring from Hainan within the south to Henan within the north, chasing down any tidbits of knowledge, he has mentioned. As soon as, on a wet day, a rock slipped off a truck mattress in entrance of him, sending his motorbike toppling. He had so many near-miss visitors incidents that he misplaced rely. However he at all times set out once more.

“If I’m at dwelling, the human trafficker will not be going to ship him again to me,” he mentioned in a 2015 interview with state tv.

In 2012, Mr. Guo based a company to assist different mother and father discover their lacking kids, and he mentioned he has helped dozens of different households discover their family members, at the same time as his personal search remained unsuccessful. His story rose to nationwide prominence with the 2015 movie. Earlier this 12 months he additionally started selling anti-trafficking consciousness on the social media app Douyin, the place he had gained tens of 1000’s of followers even earlier than his son was discovered.

The most recent improvement in Mr. Guo’s story additionally appeared like one thing straight out of a screenwriter’s creativeness.

In June, legislation enforcement officers in Shandong obtained discover of a possible match for Mr. Guo’s son in Henan Province, based on the general public safety ministry. It was not instantly clear how officers had recognized him, although they mentioned they’d used “the latest comparability and search strategies.” Additional blood work confirmed that the 26-year-old man, who some native information experiences mentioned was working as a trainer, was Mr. Guo’s son.

The authorities later mentioned that they’d arrested a girl surnamed Tang and a person surnamed Hu. In accordance with the state information media, Ms. Tang snatched the boy and delivered him to Mr. Hu, who then offered him. CCTV, the state broadcaster, mentioned the 2 had confessed.

Forward of the reunion, a dazed Mr. Guo and his spouse purchased greater than 1,000 kilos of sweet to distribute to neighbors in celebration. Mr. Guo additionally cleaned out his dwelling, tossing out previous belongings to commemorate a brand new starting.

In an interview forward of the reunion with Chen Luyu, a talk-show host, the mother and father veered between jubilation and paralysis. Sitting at their eating desk, Ms. Zhang, Mr. Guo’s spouse, broke down a number of instances, questioning if their son would blame her for not watching him intently sufficient.

Mr. Guo mentioned he bore no resentment towards the couple that had raised his son. How his son would deal with that couple going ahead was as much as him, he mentioned.

“If the kid desires to be filial to his adopted mother and father, then you definitely simply have to overtly and sincerely settle for that,” he mentioned.

State media experiences mentioned that the youthful Mr. Guo had mentioned he would proceed dwelling with the couple that had raised him, who he mentioned had handled him nicely. However he mentioned he would go to his delivery mother and father typically.

The elder Mr. Guo instructed Ms. Chen, the tv host, that he was content material with regardless of the future introduced.

“Our youngster has been discovered,” he mentioned. “Any more, solely happiness is left.”