Over the last few decades, China’s erstwhile one-child policy has resulted in thousands of child abductions.
Young boys were frequently abducted and sold to other families since sons were regarded as more valuable than daughters by many rural communities. After then, the girls were placed for adoption. Li Jingwei was one of the unfortunate children who, 33 years ago, was taken from his beloved family.
In 1988, Li was just four years old when he was kidnapped from his home in Yunnan’s southwestern province. He was transferred over 124 miles to Hunan province sold to a different family. He may have grown up in a different environment, but he never forgot his roots!
Li recalls drawing a map of his hometown virtually every day as a child. He couldn’t recollect his first name, his parents’ names, or the name of his village, but he remembered the rivers, rice paddies, bamboo woods, and winding roads that ran through the countryside.
When he was homesick, he found solace in drawing the map. He had no notion that it would lead him home decades later.
Li is now an adult with a family of his own, but the pain of losing his biological family has never left him. He watched how state media sources, police departments, and social media had assisted others in his situation in recent years in reuniting with long-lost loved ones, so he decided to give it a shot. He got down and drew the map again from memory.
“I don’t know if anyone in my family is seeking for me after so many years,” Li stated in a video. “While my parents are still here, I’d like to be able to see them again.”
Li’s map was picked up by social media and run with it! China’s Ministry of Public Security stepped in to assist, and they eventually discovered a woman in Zhaotong who had lost a child around the time Li vanished. They performed a DNA test to validate their suspicions, and it turned out to be Li’s biological mother!
Li was excited to see his mother, so they shared a video conversation as soon as the DNA was confirmed. He knew who she was the moment he saw her! He explained, “My mother and I have the same lips, even my teeth.”
The two met up at a police station in Henan a few days later. A video of their reunion is both heartbreaking and moving. As additional family and friends surround them, Li rushes into his mother’s arms, and the two begin to scream.
Li’s mother declares, “I’ve finally found my baby.”
Both expressed their gratitude to the social media users and government agencies who helped them reunite after such a long time.
Isn’t it wonderful that Li remembered so much about his hometown? Thirty-three years may seem like a long time, yet those early, fond memories of home have remained with me.
In the video below, you can see their touching reunion.
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