Chinese Man Kidnapped 33 Years Ago Reunites With Family By Drawing Hometown From Memory

With the help of the Internet, Li Jingwei found his way home within days of sharing his detailed sketch.

Cover image via BBC News & @bbcnews (Instagram)

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A Chinese man who was abducted at the age of four has been reunited with his biological mother after drawing a map of his childhood village from memory

According to BBC News, Li Jingwei finally made his way home to Yunnan province on Saturday, 1 January, after he was abducted and sold into a child trafficking ring 33 years ago.

In December, he shared a hand-drawn map on China's TikTok, Douyin, which police matched to a small village and a woman whose son had disappeared.

After DNA tests, the pair were reunited for the first time in over three decades. Video footage shows Li crying and hugging his mother while she also breaks down in tears.

Image via BBC News

Li, who does not remember his birth name, was lured away from home by a neighbour with a toy

He was trafficked to central China's Henan province, nearly 2,000km away, where he was sold to the family that would eventually raise him.

Li, who has his own wife and children in Guangdong Province now, said he had no leads asking his adoptive parents or consulting DNA databases about where he came from.

However, with the recent success stories of Guo Gantang and Sun Haiyang, two famous abduction cases that ended in reunions in 2021, Li said he was inspired to try again.

And this time, he turned to the Internet for help

"I'm a child who's finding his home. I was taken to Henan by a bald neighbour around 1989, when I was about four years old," he wrote in a video on Douyin on 24 December.

In the video, he held up a sketch of a village, which included buildings, farms, and a bamboo forest.

"This is a map of my home area that I have drawn from memory," he said.

His story quickly garnered the attention of netizens, local news outlets, and the authorities, who wanted him to experience his fairytale ending too.

A screengrab of Li Jingwei's video on Douyin showing his hand-drawn map.

Image via VICE

With the assistance of the authorities, Li's hometown was narrowed down to Zhaotong, a mountainous city in Yunnan

Within days, he was put in touch with potential family members from the area, and according to VICE, he soon received a call from a woman who accurately described a scar on his chin that he had gotten while falling off a ladder as a boy.

DNA tests were taken. On 28 December, China's Ministry of Public Security's Office Against Human Trafficking confirmed that the pair were related and arranged for them to be reunited on the first day of the new year. Li's father is no longer alive, they added.

"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," Li wrote happily on Douyin after the reunion.

"Thank you, everyone who has helped me reunite with my family."

Watch footage of the touching reunion here:

Child kidnappings are all too common in China, where an estimated 20,000 children are abducted each year.

These parents fought tooth and nail to find their long lost children across the country for decades:

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the Internet has also reunited these families in the unlikeliest of ways:

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