Tearful story of a Chinese couple reunited with their son after 32 years

Tearful story of a Chinese couple reunited with their son after 32 years2
The couple was in tear when they reunited with their son Mao Yin. Source: AFP
5 Min Read

Daily US Times: A Chinese couple has been reunited with their son after 32 years. He was abducted in a hotel in 1988. Mao Yin was aged two when he was abducted while his father stopped to get him some water on the way home from nursery.

The couple then searched the country for him and his mother distributed more than 100,000 flyers.

The parents were reunited with their son on Monday at a police news conference. Mr Yin is now 34 and said he planned to spend time with his parents.

His mother Li Jingzhi said: “I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who helped us.”

What happened to Mao Yin?

Yin was born in February 23, 1986. His mother called him a “very clever, cute, and healthy” baby, during an interview with the South China Morning Post in January – before he was found.

On 17 October, 1988, his father Mao Zhenjing, was bringing him home from nursery in the city of Xian in Shaanxi province.

Mao Yin pictured as a child with his mother Li Jingzhi. Photo: SCMP

The boy asked for water, so they stopped in the entrance of a hotel. As the father cooled down some hot wather, he looked away and his boy was missing.

The family searched in and around Xian, putting up posters. At one point hope appeared to them but later explored that it was a false dawn. They tried every was to get reunited with their son.

To search for her son, Mrs Li quit her job. She handed out 100,000 flyers in more than 10 provinces and municipalities – but did not met any success.

Over the years she appeared lots of Chinese television shows to appeal to help to get her son back, including the X Factor. The South China Morning Post reported that she followed 300 leads, but no match was found.

In 2007, she started volunteering with a group called “Baby Come Back Home”. The group help other parents look for their missing children.

She helped reunite 29 children with their families, while her own son was still missing, according to media reports.

How was he found?

China’s state media reported in April that police received a tip about a man from Sichuan Province in south-west China – about 1,000km (620 miles) from Xian – who had adopted a baby years earlier.

Police then found the adoptee, now a 34-year-old man. Police then conducted a DNA test to see if he was related to Mao Zhenjing and Li Jingzhi and the result came back positive.

He was tracked down in early May by Xian police who used facial recognition technology to analyse old photos of the boy. His identity was later confirmed using DNA testing.

Meanwhile, Mao Yin had been renamed Gu Ningning and now runs a home decoration business. He said he was not sure about the future but wants to spend time with his parents.

Police said he had been sold as a boy to a childless couple for 6,000 yuan, what is equivalent to $440 in today’s money.

The Happy Family. Source: CCTV

Mrs Li was informed about the good news on 10 May- Mother’s Day is China.

She described the news as ‘the best gift I have ever got’.

The couple broke down in tears while reunited with their son, hugging him, at the press conference. Holding her son’s hands, Li said: “I don’t want to be separated from him anymore”. Her son replied that he would come and live with his biological parents soon.

The 1988 disappearance investigation is still ongoing. The authorities have not released information about the couple who raised the boy.

How common is child trafficking in China?

For decades, the trafficking and abduction of babies has been a problem in China.

The are no official data available. But on Baby Come Back Home’s website, there are 14,893 posts looking for missing boys, and 7,411 looking for girls.

In 2015, it was estimated that about 20,000 children were being abducted each year across China.

China’s Ministry of Public Security set up a DNA database in 2009, which has since helped to find more than 6,000 missing children.

And in May 2016, the ministry launched a system called “Reunion”, which by June 2019 had led to more than 4,000 children finding their families.