Police recover 1,680 missing children in past 5 months, most 'left home voluntarily'
Published: Jun 01, 2021 06:04 PM
Young students join the Young Pioneers of China ahead of Children's Day on May 27 in Tongling, Central China's Anhui. Photo: IC

Young students join the Young Pioneers of China ahead of Children's Day on May 27 in Tongling, Central China's Anhui. Photo: IC

Chinese police have recovered a total of 1,680 missing and abducted children in the past five months thanks to a high tech recovery system, said the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Tuesday. Among the recovered children, 63% had left home voluntarily, figures show.

The police departments have handled a total of 85 cases of child abduction and trafficking and arrested 223 suspects, Tong Bishan, a deputy inspector of the MPS' Criminal Investigation Bureau, said at a news conference on Tuesday, which was the International Children's Day.

Since January, police officers from all over the country have been making every effort to solve the backlog of child abduction and trafficking cases, arresting suspects and searching for missing and abducted children. None of the cases cracked so far could have been achieved without the help of the high tech "Tuanyuan" anti-human trafficking system, Tong said. 

The Tuanyuan system, which means Reunion in English, was launched on May 15, 2016, posting information on all missing children along with their photos, names and time and locations of their disappearance. The information is also sent to other apps to notify users nearby immediately after a child is reported missing.  

The Tuanyuan system is one of the world's most effective systems used for fighting human trafficking, with more than 530 million participants joining the campaign. Each post by the Tuanyuan system on China's Twitter-like social platform Sina Weibo receives an average of 100,000 readers, with the highest number of readers reaching 10.28 million, the Legal Daily newspaper reported.

In the past five years, a total of 4,801 pieces of information about lost children have been uploaded to the Tuanyuan system, leading to the recovery of 4,707 children. The system has a success rate of 98%.

Among the missing children recovered by the Tuanyuan system, 63% of them ran away from home on their own initiative, statistics indicated.

In 2017, DNA information was adopted into the system to help police match lost children with their parents more quickly. Focusing on the parents of missing children, suspected abductors and persons of unknown origin, the public security authorities have carried out in-depth investigations and DNA information collection. Besides, more than 3,000 free blood collection points have been set up for parents of lost children to register their DNA.

Since 2009, public security departments have carried out a series of special operations to combat abduction. The number of child abduction and trafficking cases has been reduced to about 20 annually, Tong said at the news conference. 

"The possibility of recovering missing children is becoming increasingly high with faster recovery speed," Tong said. "At the same time, the public security organs have always maintained high pressure and strict situation against crimes of abduction and trafficking."

Global Times