In 1997, two-year-old Guo Xinzhen was kidnapped from his home in Shandong, China. His grief-stricken father, Guo Gangtang, spent the next 24 years crisscrossing the country on a motorcycle, handing out flyers in a desperate search for his missing son. Now, 24 years later, Gangtang’s search has finally come to an end. 

In July, 2021, police in Liaocheng, Shandong, China finally located the missing Guo Xinzhen—who is now, of course, an adult. DNA testing showed the familial relationship, and was able to help reunite the long-lost son with his family. It turned out that he’d been living in the next province over, Henan, since he had been kidnapped over two decades ago. He was only two years old at that time.  

Guo Gangtang literally put everything he had into the effort to find his son, running through about ten different motorbikes as he crisscrossed the country. He printed flyers, he flew flags, and he inspired a national anti-child-trafficking effort along the way. His story was so powerful that a film version was made in 2015, starring Hong Kong film star Andy Lau. It’s called Lost and Love, and you can on Amazon Prime or Tubi right now if you’re interested.  

What about the kidnapper? At the time of Xinzhen’s disappearance, his family told police that an unfamiliar woman was seen in the area. Once DNA testing revealed the adult Xinzhen’s family ties in 2021, local police spoke to a suspected child trafficker in the area. According to their account, the man and his ex-girlfriend confessed to the abduction all those years ago.  

Child abductions, according to CNN, have been a serious problem in China, with activists and experts laying a large part of the blame on the country’s one-child policy. As of May, 2021, the government relaxed its rules and said it would allow families to have up to three children going forward.  

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