Father Who Spent 24 Years Traversing 300,000 Miles of China by Motorcycle Finally Reunited With Kidnapped Son
Guo Gangtang's relentless search for his son Guo Xinzhen, who was taken from their family home in China's Shandong province, inspired a 2015 hit film, "Lost and Love."
After searching for 24 years, and traversing more than 300,000 miles through China by motorcycle, a relentless father was reunited with his son, who was kidnapped from their family home when he was just 2 years old.
Guo Gangtang, now 51, and his son Guo Xinzhen were photographed sobbing in each other’s embrace when they were finally reunited.
“Today is very important for me,” Gangtang said on social media shortly after the reunion, according to the South China Morning Post. “My kid has been found. The future is full of happiness. God treats us kindly.”
Xinzhen had been unsupervised and playing in front of his family’s home in the Shandong province, just south of Beijing, when he was abducted by a woman, China’s state-run Xinhua News reported.
More than 500 volunteers had searched for Zhen initially, and local authorities investigated the case, but they were ultimately unsuccessful, according to Xinhua News.
At the time, kidnappings in China were common due to the one-child policy meant to curb the country’s rapidly growing population and many families' preference to have a son in order to pass down the blood line. The one-child policy was finally eradicated in 2016.
While the case of Xinzhen’s kidnapping remained open, Gangtang decided to take the search into his own hands, riding his motorcycle to every province in China handing out flyers of his son’s photo.
Gangtang’s search eventually became the subject of a hit 2015 Hong Kong film, “Lost and Love.”
“Only on the road, I felt I am a father,” he told reporters shortly before the film’s release. “I have no reason to stop [searching]. And it’s impossible for me to stop.”
Even though Gangtang never found his son during his 24-year search, he did track down more than 100 other abducted children and reunited them with their families, Xinhua News reported.
Earlier this year, however, thanks to China’s improving technology and surveillance on its population, the Ministry of Public Security found a potential match for Xinzhen’s DNA in Henan, a province neighboring where he was abducted.
Additional DNA testing revealed that Xinzhen was in fact Gangtang’s son.
"We are really happy for the family, and we have accomplished what we had aspired for so many years," said Tong Bishan of the Ministry of Public Security, according to Xinhua News.
Authorities said they have detained his potential kidnappers, who confessed to having abducted Xinzhen in 1997 before selling him to another family.
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