Toddler Found After 32 Years

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after three decades.

Mao Yin was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father, aged just two and half. His parents finally embraced him again earlier this week, in the western city of Xi’an, where he was born.

After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out over 100,000 flyers, and appearing on numerous television shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children, but it was only in late April this year that a tip-off led to her own son.

In late April, police received information about a boy from Xi’an who had been sold to a family just over 600km (370 miles) away, for 6,000 yuan. A DNA test confirmed Mao Yin’s identity.

“I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who helped us,” Li told Xinhua news agency. “I can’t believe that after helping 29 missing children find their families, I am able to find my own son.”

Renamed Gu Ninging, he had been brought up in the city of Mianyang, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long search. He now plans to spend several days with his parents, before returning home to deal with the implications of having his life turned upside down overnight. “To be honest, I’m not quite sure about the future yet,” he told Xinhua news agency.