A 37-year old man was finally reconciled with his parents, after being abducted at the age of four in 1988, through the use of a map "drawn from memory" and aided by social media and online sleuths.
Live Action News reported that Li Jingwei was one of those kidnapped in the 1980s brought about by the Chinese government's One-Child Policy. The pro-life site explained that the policy has brought "disastrous consequences" such as boys being kidnapped often out of Chinese preference for sons. Sons are said to better provide for the elderly and "continue the family line," such that girls are often sent for adoption or simply abandoned.
Li was kidnapped by a man he knew from his village located in Yunnan province. The man brought him to the Henan province where a family who raised him up. Li was aware that he was taken away to a place far from his home but had no idea how to get back to his parents.
Growing up, Li revealed to CNN that he could not remember his name or that of his parents nor his village's. What he did remember was how his village looked like. Li then would draw from memory of how his village looked like whenever he felt sad while he was still a child. He drew it once a day.
As an adult, Li disclosed that the case of Guo Xinzhen, a man who was reconciled to his parents after being abducted at the age of two in 1997 through the aid of police departments, social media, and technology. Guo's parents launched a nationwide search for him that ended up becoming a movie last year. The movie then led to the reunion of Guo with his parents that was widely publicized.
Li told CNN that Guo's story inspired him to try once more in finding his parents. Li drew a map of his home village from memory and posted it online. The map is said to have a "remarkable detail" of the village's landmarks such as the water buffalo's location, houses, highways, and winding paths. The map is included in a video where Li spoke of his desire to reconcile with his family and posted in Douyin, a Chinese social media platform.
"So many years have passed, I don't know if anyone in my family is looking for me. I want to be able to see my parents again while they are still here," Li announced.
Li's video went viral in social media and garnered attention from authorities who launched an investigation on his behalf. The authorities came up with a lineup of women who they suspect as Li's mother that were handpicked from Yunnan's Zhaotong City. The authorities then had DNA sampling from those in the lineup and compared it with Li's. The confirmation of Li's mother was released last December 28.
Li had a video interview with his mother who he confirmed as her having easily recognized that they have "the same lips" and teeth. Li and his mother were reunited on January 1 at the Henan police station. He shared the video of his reconciliation with his mother that similarly went viral on social media. The said video showed a heartwarming scene of Li embracing his mother while both of them were in tears and surrounded by family and supporters.
"I've finally found my baby," Li's mother exclaimed.
The mother and son are also shown in the video expressing gratitude to all those who helped make their reconciliation possible, including all the online users who helped track down his village based on the map he posted. Accordingly, Li's father is already deceased and he intends to visit his grave in February during the Lunar New Year when he returns to Yunnan.