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Man in China reunites with son 24 years after abduction

By K J M Varma
July 14, 2021 14:35 IST
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A Chinese man, whose 24-year search for his abducted son that was turned into a movie and saw him travel over 5 lakh kilometres on a motorbike across the country, has finally reunited with his son.

IMAGE: Guo Gangtang, 51, and his wife were reunited with their son Guo Xinzhen in Liaocheng. Photograph: China News

The boy had been snatched aged two by human traffickers in front of their home in east China's Shandong province in 1997.

Guo Gangtang, 51, and his wife were reunited with their son Guo Xinzhen in Liaocheng, Shandong province.


The ministry of public security held a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday to release details of the case as well as photos of the reunion.

"Today is very important for me. My son has been found. The future is full of happiness," Guo Gangtang told the media.

When asked how he would get along with his son's adoptive parents, Guo Gangtang said he would "just treat them as relatives".

He added if Guo Xinzhen wanted to be filial to his adoptive parents, he would respect his son's decision, state-run China Daily reported.

Guo Xinzhen went missing in September 1997, at age two-and-a-half years abducted by human traffickers while he was playing near the family home in Liaocheng.

A male suspect and a female suspect have been taken into custody for questioning, police said on Tuesday.

Early investigations found the pair to be lovers who may have abducted the boy when they were traveling in Shandong. They took a long-distance bus back to Henan and allegedly sold the boy.

Child abductions are regarded as one of the biggest menaces in China.

According to estimates in 2015, over 20,000 children go missing each year in China, abducted by traffickers. Many of them are sold into adoption, both domestically and overseas.

Police investigated Guo Xinzhen's disappearance and collected blood samples from the parents, but there was no breakthrough in the case until this year.

In January, the ministry of public security launched 'Operation Tuanyuan', meaning "reunion", to find missing children.

A total of 3,000 free blood testing sites were established nationwide and nearly 10,000 people volunteered to have blood samples taken.

In June 2021, police in Henan province made a DNA match with a blood sample from Guo Xinzhen and the record of the samples his parents had given in 2000.

No further details of the case were given by police.
Guo Gangtang's quest to find his son was portrayed in the 2015 movie 'Lost and Love', starring Hong Kong actor Andy Lau.

The father decided to leave his hometown to look for his son alone, riding a motorcycle and carrying a flag with information about the boy printed on it.

He travelled over 5 lakh km to different parts of China on motorcycles except Tibet and Xinjiang, seeking public help to locate his son.

Guo Gangtang once said in an interview: "China is so big that finding a child is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but at least I have hope. It's only when I'm on the road to search for my son that I feel like I am a father."

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K J M Varma
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