Mao Yin was kidnapped when he was two years old. His father drove him home from the nursery and stopped to get the baby some water.
His parents had been looking for him all over the country and Mao Yin’s mother had distributed more than 100,000 leaflets announcing his son’s disappearance.
On Monday, at a press conference organized by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, parents met with their 34-year-old son.
“I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who helped us,” said Mao Yin’s mother, Jingzhi Li, addressing journalists.
What happened to Mao Yin?
Mao Yin was born on February 23, 1986. In a January interview with the South China Morning Post before Mao found his parents, his mother said he was a “very smart, sweet and healthy” child.
When Mao was abducted, his family lived in Xi’an, Xi’an, in Shanxi province. On October 17, 1988, Mao Yinya Mao’s father Zhenjing took his son home from a nursery.
The child asked for water, and they stayed at the hotel entrance. The father poured his son warm water and started pouring it from one cup to another to cool it down faster. He turned his back for a moment and Mao Yin disappeared.
The family searched for him, handing out ads in the streets of Xi’an and the suburbs. At one point it seemed to them that they had found their son, but their hope was false.
Mao Yin’s mother quit her job and devoted all her time to finding her son. She went around 10 regions and handed out more than a hundred thousand leaflets. But it was unsuccessful.
Over the years, she has told her story on a TV show, asking for help. According to the South China Morning Post, she regularly received tips on people, each of whom could have been her son, but after investigating about 300 such tips, she never found Mao Yin.
In 2007, Jingji Li volunteered with Baby Come Back Home, an organization that helps parents look for missing children.
According to the Chinese state media, she has helped 29 families reunite with their children. But she couldn’t find her son.
Today, Lee says she will continue to work with the organization.
How was he found?
In early April, police received information about a man from Sichuan province, which is about a thousand kilometers away from Xi’an, according to the Chinese government media. It was known that many years ago this man was adopted.
In order to establish the relationship between him and the parents who lost the child, they conducted a genetic test. It gave a positive result. The 34-year-old man turned out to be Mao Yinem.
The police said the man was helped to find facial recognition technology. The photo of little Mao Yin was artificially aged and then started looking for matches in a national database, which, among other things, has street surveillance footage.
According to police information, the child was sold to a childless couple many years ago for six thousand yuan (today it is 700 pounds or about 61 thousand rubles). Foster parents raised Mao Yin under the name Gu Ninnin.
Jingzhi Li News reported May 10, when China celebrates Mother’s Day. “This is the best gift of my life,” she said.
The investigation into the abduction of Mao Yin is still ongoing.
Traffic of children in China
Kidnapping and selling is a longstanding problem in China.
Official figures on child trafficking are not published, while Baby Come Back Home has 14893 posts on missing boys and 7411 on girls.
According to police estimates in 2015, there are 20,000 kidnappings per year.
In 2009, the Ministry of Public Security established a DNA database that helped to find more than six thousand missing children.
In May 2016, the Ministry launched the “Reunification” programme. By June 2019, according to official figures, it had helped over 4,000 children find their families.