A heartwarming scene unfolded in Xi’an on Monday when Mao Yin, abducted at the age of 2, was reunited with his mother and father after 32 years.
Back in 1988, Mao was snatched in the brief moment when his father’s back was turned to get the boy some water. The family searched around Xi’an and put up posters of the missing boy, but they were unable to find him or any other clues. A report from Xinhua states that Mao’s mother, Li Jingzhi, then quit her job to expand the search for her lost son. She gave out more than 100,000 flyers and appeared on several television shows over the past three decades. Police expanded the investigation and search to upwards of 10 provinces and municipalities.
Mrs. Li joined an organization called Baby Come Home (Baobei Huijia, 宝贝回家) in 2007 and, with the help of other heroic volunteers, she reunited 29 other families with their abducted children. On Mother’s Day of this year, Mrs. Li received the ultimate gift – being reunited with her own lost child.
The decades-long investigation caught a break in April when Xi’an police, in Shaanxi province, received a tip about a man in neighboring Sichuan who had adopted a baby many years earlier for RMB6,000. The information led authorities to a man, renamed Gu Ningning, who was the right age and resembled the missing Mao, with a DNA test confirming the identity. Authorities are reportedly still investigating details of Mao’s case.
Image via @伊州检察/Weibo
Mao has said that he is unsure what the future holds but that he intends to spend some time with his parents in Xi’an before returning to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, where he operates a home decoration business, according to the BBC.
Child abductions are an ongoing problem in China and there are a number of government and social media campaigns aimed at reuniting stolen children with their parents as well as tracking down the parents of children suspected of being abducted. An emergency alert system called Tuanyuan (Reunion) was launched by the Ministry of Public Safety in 2016 and has since helped locate more than 4,385 missing children.
[Cover image via CCTV]