Li Jingwei, a 37-year-old man from Guangdong Province, China, recently returned to his birth family after an astonishing 33-year separation.
Abducted at the tender age of four, Li had virtually no recollection of his birth parents, his village, or even his original name.
Despite facing numerous dead-ends in his search, he refused to give up hope.Having exhausted traditional means of tracing his roots, including attempting to locate leads through his adoptive parents and DNA databases, Li turned to the internet as a last resort.
On Christmas Day, he uploaded a video on Douyin, a popular Chinese social media platform, showcasing a meticulously drawn map of his childhood home, complete with recognizable landmarks he remembered from his early years.
A Tale of Perseverance and Technology
The video swiftly went viral, capturing the attention of netizens and local authorities alike. Through their combined efforts, it was determined that Li had likely been kidnapped from Zhaotong, a city in Yunnan Province, and sold to a family in Henan Province, nearly 2000km (approximately 1243 miles) away. The revelation shed light on the pervasive issue of child trafficking in China, a consequence of the cultural preference for sons and the strict enforcement of the one-child policy.
Inspired by the successful reunions of other abducted individuals, such as Sun Haiyang and Guo Gangtang, Li remained resolute in his quest to find his birth parents. After his story garnered widespread attention, local authorities facilitated contact between Li and potential family members.
A phone call with a woman believed to be his biological mother, during which she accurately described a childhood scar on Li’s chin, provided the first concrete evidence of their relationship. Subsequent DNA tests confirmed the long-awaited reunion, with the Public Security Ministry’s Anti-Human Trafficking Office affirming the news on December 28.
As Li prepares to meet his mother for the first time in over three decades, his poignant journey serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative impact of technology in reuniting families torn apart by unfortunate circumstances. Amidst the celebratory anticipation, Li expressed profound gratitude to all those who had played a role in helping him reconnect with his long-lost family.