31 years after Family Planning officials took him away, Sichuan man is reunited with parents

By Zoey Zha, January 29, 2015

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A man in Sichuan Province finally found his biological parents recently following a year-long search. Yuan Ying was taken away from his family by local government officers when he was just half a month old as a result of the one-child policy.

Back in 1983, his mother, 27-year-old Zou Yuhua, received a warning from local Party Secretary Wu Taizhang and Family Planning Office supervisor Xia Shiqun when she gave birth to her second son. According to state policy, she would be heavily fined if she didn't send him away. Since she insisted on keeping her baby, the family was fined RMB1,601 and had 1.5 acres of farmland confiscated, and Zou’s husband Zhang Faming was required to undergo a vasectomy.

Three days later, after the baby was officially registered, a group of government officials and policemen turned up at the house unexpectedly, taking the baby away and offering them back a partial RMB1,000 of the fine that they had already paid.

Faced with public condemnation, the couple then decided to move to Jiajia, a neighboring town about a kilometer away. As Wu later recalled, there was one other baby taken away that year as well as Zou's: “Sichuan had one of the biggest populations and the birth-control policy was enforced strictly; no second child was allowed, even if the first one was a girl.”

With limited information from the local Family Planning bureau in the city of Jianyang, the couple located a potential foster home where the baby might have been sent to in a nearby town, but were then expelled from the office. “They said it’s a crime to look for people," Zhang said, "once the government has made its call, then the baby is no longer yours.”

When Yuan asked Jianyang Family Planning about his adoption in 2013, he was told that they didn't have records going back that far. After he had a child of his own, however, he was determined to find his own birth parents.

“My adoptive parents treated me well,” Yuan said, “but I still want to find my birth parents before it’s too late.” He advertised on Jianyang Television and hired three local women to help him spread posters and leaflets in all 55 towns and villages in the municipality.

Zou saw one of these poster just by chance. Despite several false hopes in past years, Zou still decided to call Yuan and arrange a meeting. Both sides felt sure that they had found their long-lost family when first met on November 28, and a DNA test later confirmed it. Separated by just one kilometer, it took over three decades for this family to be reunited.

[Image via Beijing News]

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