Henan mother reunites with abducted son after 24 years via facial recognition, DNA matching technologies
Published: Jan 23, 2022 08:24 PM
Photo: CCTV
Photo: CCTV

Many Chinese netizens witnessed the heartfelt reunion on Sunday of a mother from Central China's Henan Province and her son abducted 24 years ago, with the help of facial recognition and DNA matching technologies used by the police. 

The mother, named Li Fang, and her son named Zhang Yangyang held each other in their arms for a long time, unwilling to be parted again, before the son pressed a kiss on his mother's forehead, saying "it's all right now, mom," online video clips showed. 

Over the past 24 years, Li, now aged 52, had been searching for her son alone. It was only recently that the reunion of a father named Sun Haiyang from Central China's Hubei Province and his abducted son Sun Zhuo on December 6, 2021 brought Li's experience under the media spotlight. 

Zhang Yangyang was abducted by a human trafficker who used instant noodles and ham sausages as bait in front of the barber shop that Li operated in Luohe, Henan on June 6, 1998, when Zhang was 4 years old, according to CCTV news. 

Li was away from her barber shop for 10 minutes to buy some noodles when a 20-something abducted Zhang. 

A nearby shop owner witnessed the entire situation, but thought the young man was Li's relative and did not intervene. 

Li got divorced one year after her son went missing. She never got married again or had another child but has been sparing no effort to look for her abducted son. 

On December 9, 2021 when Sun Haiyang sent his son back to Yanggu county in East China's Shandong Province to continue his studies, many parents across the nation came to the county, trying to have their abducted children's information exposed to the public. Li was one of those parents. 

In front of media cameras, Li burst into tears and said "Yangyang, you have grown up and I have been looking for you since I was 28. Now I am 52, I almost cannot endure any longer. I hope you contact me if you see the information."

Then, Sun Haiyang handed photos of Zhang Yangyang as a child over to two anti-abduction policemen in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. In less than half a month, the policemen contacted Li and told her that they had found her abducted son through facial recognition technologies. After a DNA comparison, Li was told on Saturday that her lost son had been found. 

According to media reports, Zhang was abducted to Puning in South China's Guangdong Province and was laboring as a migrant worker in Hainan Province. 

Many Chinese netizens were deeply touched by the reunion of the mother and her son and left messages on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, reminding the media that livestreamed the reunion to give more exposure and hopes to other parents whose children were also abducted. 

Global Times