After 24 years of touring China on a motorcycle, determined father finds kidnapped son

A Chinese man has found his son after a 24-year search that saw him travel more than half a million kilometers across the country on a motorcycle.

Guo Gangtang’s son was abducted by human traffickers outside their home in east China’s Shandong Province when he was two years old.

Mr. Guo, a 51-year-old farmer, spent his savings searching, becoming a prominent member of missing persons organizations in China and helping at least seven other parents locate their abducted children.

Her story has long touched the hearts of the nation, with her determined efforts to find her son even turned into a movie six years ago.

However, a happy new chapter was added on Sunday as Mr. Guo’s son Guo Xinzhen, who was trafficked to neighboring Henan Province in 1997, was reunited with his family in Liaocheng City in Shandong.

The moment was shared widely online with people across the country sending warm messages and congratulations to the family.

Actor Andy Lau played Guo Gangtang in a film describing his research.(

Reuters: video surveillance

)

On Tuesday, the Department of Public Security held a press briefing which revealed some details on how the case was resolved using DNA tracing.

Deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security, Tong Bishan, said DNA samples were taken from residents of Henan after “clues” refined the search.

According to the ministry, a man and a woman from Shanxi Province were arrested for the initial kidnapping.

In September 1997, two-year-old Xinzhen was abducted by a stranger while playing near his home.

More than 500 people volunteered to search for the boy at nearby bus and train stations, but no clues were found.

However, Mr. Guo never gave up hope.

He enlarged his son’s photo and had it printed on a flag with the message “Where are you, my son? Daddy will take you home”, before embarking on a tireless search across the nation. most populated in the world.

“I thought there might be a silver lining in finding my son if I went looking for him,” he told China Central Television (CCTV) in 2015.

“The kidnapper would never dismiss my son anyway. If I stayed home there is no chance. So since late 1997 I have started looking for my son.”

A motorcycle with a flag printed with the image of a child.
A flag on Guo Gangtang’s motorbike featured a picture of his missing son.(

Reuters: video surveillance

)

Mr. Guo left his footprints in almost every part of the country as he embarked on a massive search across the country, distributing leaflets from his motorcycle.

He even learned to use the internet to search for other clues, and printed tens of thousands of letters asking for help from relatives, friends, volunteers, and police across China.

While searching for his own son in the murky world of human trafficking, Mr. Guo was able to find a number of other children lost to several other families and took away a collection of missing persons notices.

The moving story was adapted into a feature film, titled Lost and Love, which premiered in 2015 and starred famous Chinese actor Andy Lau in the lead role.

Hearing the good news of the family reunion, Lau posted a special congratulatory message online on Monday and called for more concerted efforts to tackle the issue of child trafficking.

“I met Mr. Guo because of the movie Lost and Love,” he said.

“Today, I feel very happy and very excited, because Guo’s kidnapped son has finally reunited with his parents after 24 years, thanks to the efforts of the public security organs.”

He said he admired Mr. Guo’s persistence.

A number of the crew who worked on the film also sent in their congratulations, while some have said on social media that they would like to see a sequel that features this happy ending.

The Ministry of Public Security said Chinese police have located and rescued 2,609 missing or abducted children, including adults missing or kidnapped as children, since launching a nationwide campaign in January.

Police resolved 147 unsolved cases of child abduction and trafficking during the period, and arrested a total of 372 suspects linked to these crimes.

A victim was found after a period of 61 years, the ministry said.

Reuters


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About Todd Wurtsbach

Todd Wurtsbach

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