Chinese parents, kidnapped sons reunited after 24 years – .

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Chinese parents, kidnapped sons reunited after 24 years – .


BANGKOK – After 24 years of grief and searching, a Chinese couple found their son who was abducted as a child outside their front door.

Guo Gangtang and his wife, Zhang Wenge, hugged their 26-year-old son with tears in their eyes on Sunday at a meeting organized by the police in their hometown of Liaocheng, eastern Shandong Province, according to a video recording released by the police.

The story of their reunion after Guo toured China on a motorcycle in search of his son and became an activist who helped police return other missing children to their parents has sparked public sympathy and condemnation of kidnappings.

Guo Xinzhen, then 2.5 years old, was caught by a woman and her boyfriend who took him to northwestern Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing, the Chinese capital, according to police. From there it was sold to a couple in central China.

Child abductions for sale are regularly reported in China, but the frequency with which this occurs is unclear.

The problem is compounded by restrictions which, until 2015, only allowed most urban couples to have one child. Boys are sold to couples who want a son to take care of them in old age. Girls go to parents who want a maid or a wife for an only child.

Police experts found Guo Xinzhen in June while searching databases for images of people who looked like him as adults, according to a police ministry statement. His identity was confirmed by a DNA test.

The woman and her boyfriend, identified only by surnames Tang and Hu, were arrested and confessed to trafficking three boys, according to the ministry. They have yet to be tried, but the potential penalties extend to death.

Blood samples from Guo Xinzhen’s parents were added to an “anti-kidnapping DNA system,” but no matches were found with boys who were allegedly kidnapped, the police ministry said.

Kidnappers target children who are too young to know their name or hometown, and sometimes they have even been abducted.

“So happy for Mr. Guo,” Ding Dalong signed a post on the Zhihu social media platform. “He has found his long lost son and can move on with his own life. “

Others called for the buyers of trafficked children to be punished. It was not known whether the couple who bought Guo Xinzhen would face penalties.

Guo Xinzhen grew up in Henan Province, police said, but no other details of his life have been reported. It is not clear whether he knew he had been kidnapped.

Her mother, Zhang, described her desperation in a 2015 TV interview.

“What is the use of living? she said. “It was I who lost the child.

Guo Gangtang, now 51, began his search with a flag with the photo and details of his son, including “a scar on his left little toe.”

Guo wrote on his social media account that he had worn 10 motorcycles across 30 of China’s 34 provinces and regions.

According to media reports, he operates a shop in Beijing that sells works of art. He received financial assistance from his father, who continued to work until he was 70, and other relatives.

Guo launched a website in 2012 and a charity in 2014 to help other parents of abducted children, according to news reports.

“Thank you for participating in anti-trafficking activities for 24 years and for helping more than 100 children return home,” the police ministry said on its social media account.

Guo’s search inspired the 2015 film “Lost and Love,” written by Sanyuan Peng and starring Hong Kong idol Andy Lau.

“It’s only when I’m on the road that I feel like a father,” the Guo-based character said in the film’s commercial.

The couple had two more sons, but reporters said Guo wanted them to think Xinzhen was an only child. This would add to the emotional impact of his research.

In a video on his social media account, Guo said he was exhausted from public attention and no longer wanted to give interviews.

In the 2015 TV interview, Guo said he nearly fell off a cliff when he was blown off his motorcycle in a rainstorm.

Guo Xinzhen said he will remain in Henan but that he plans to visit his birth parents regularly, according to press reports.

“He’s a good father,” Guo Xinzhen told reporters. “I am proud of him. ”

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