After 500,000km chase and 24 years, a father was re-united with his son, who was kidnapped when he was 2-and-a-half years old. Guo Gangtang and his wife got to see their son in Henan Province after more than two decades of persistent efforts.
Guo and his wife were shocked when their son was kidnapped from the family home in eastern Shandong province in 1997. The loss of son, who was playing unattended in front of the house, shocked Guo, who quit his job and went on a search to find the child.
A Happy Reunion
According to the ministry of public security, traffickers had kidnapped the boy and sold him to a family in central China. Guo travelled more than 500,000 kms on his motorbike all these years. After 24 years, he got a call from police stating that the DNA of a 26-year-old teacher matched his, and the cops confirmed that the man was his son.
State-run Global Times reported that two suspects have been arrested in this case. However, cops have not revealed details of the family that bought Guo's son and raised him as their own. The name of Guo's son has been revealed as Guo Xinzhen. But it is not known if he lived under a different name with the family that bought him.
The news of reunion has created a sensation online. Comments congratulating the son and parents are overflowing on social media. A reunion event was organized and the photo of the same was released by the public security ministry.
In one of the pictures, Guo is seen sobbing into his palms and his teary-eyed wife gives a hug to their son, Guo Xinzhen. In another picture, Guo is seen embracing his son, still not able to control his tears. In a video released by the China News Service, Guo said: "Now that the child has been found, everything can only be happy from now on." Guo even said that he would regard the couple who eventually raised his son as "relatives".
The Search for Clues
Guo was 27-years-old when he lost Guo Xinzhen. Reports claim that after quitting his job, he travelled at least 310,000 miles under harsh condition. He fixed large flags bearing his son's photo to the back of his motorbike and set out on a search for his son.
Guo is said to have encountered highway robbers and battled them, and slept under bridges. When he ran out of money, he even begged to be able to move forward. Thus he had travelled across more than 20 provinces, suffered broken bones in traffic accidents. He is also said to have damaged 10 motorcycles.
Guo not only was on a journey to find his son, but meanwhile had helped seven other families reunite with their lost children. His efforts have been a great help in raising awareness about child trafficking. Even on the day he was supposed to reunite with his son, he helped another father find his son in the Hannam Province where Guo Xinzhen had grown up.
In fact, his life has been made into a movie in 2014. The Chinese blockbuster movie titled Lost and Love is inspired by Guo's search for his son.
The incidents of child kidnapping were highest in 1980s and 1990s following the one-child rule. Reports claim that obsession with sons led to kidnapping of boys. Until recently the talking about child trafficking was a taboo in China. But in 2016, police launched a DNA database of missing family members. It is said that so far, more than 2,600 individuals kidnapped as children have been reunited with their biological parents.