Map drawn from memory helps reunite kidnapped man with family in China

Li Jingwei was abducted near his home in China 33 years ago and sold to a family by child traffickers

Chiara Giordano
Sunday 02 January 2022 16:22
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<p>Li Jingwei, who was abducted as a child, has been reunited with his family after drawing a map of his village in Yunnan, China</p>

Li Jingwei, who was abducted as a child, has been reunited with his family after drawing a map of his village in Yunnan, China

A man who was kidnapped as a child more than 30 years ago has been reunited with his family after drawing a map of his home village from memory.

Li Jingwei was reportedly just four years old when he was abducted near his home in southwestern China and sold by traffickers to a family more than 1,000 miles away.

For years, he yearned for his own family, but his adoptive parents and DNA databases could provide no answers.

Inspired by two recent high-profile stories of young men being reunited with their biological parents in similar circumstances, Mr Li decided to turn to the internet for help.

On 24 December, the 37-year-old posted a photo of a hand-drawn map on Douyin – China’s version of TikTok – and asked for clues about where it could be.

The detailed sketch of the area where he grew up included features such as a small pond, a bamboo forest, and a building he believed to be a school.

The 37-year-old posted a photo of a hand-drawn map on Douyin – China’s version of TikTok – and asked for clues about where it could be

In a video shared thousands of times online, Mr Li said he was looking for his home after being taken to Henan, in central China, by a “bald neighbour” around 1989.

Police managed to narrow the area down to a small village near the mountainous city of Zhaotong in Yunnan province, according to the South China Morning Post.

After providing a blood sample which matched the DNA of a woman in the village, Mr Li was finally reunited with his mother on New Year’s Day. Sadly his father is no longer alive, according to the publication.

Mr Li reportedly thanked those who helped him track down his family in a final post before the emotional reunion.

He wrote: “Thirty-three years of waiting, countless nights of yearning, and finally a map hand-drawn from memory, this is the moment of perfect release after 13 days.”

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