A Chinese woman who was kidnapped at a young age has finally been reunited with her mother, some 21 years later. Wang Xue, nicknamed Little Swallow, was taken when she was just seven-years-old, and only found her biological mother after a DNA test confirmed their relationship.
Hundreds of locals lined the streets around the family home to witness the stunning reunion, decorating the whole local area with flowers and banners to welcome home this long-lost daughter. “I have finally found my daughter,’ the teary mother, Wang Yonghui, told reporters. “I finally got to see my daughter again in my lifetime.”
“Now I have finally met my daughter,” her father added.
According to the South China Morning Post, Wang was seven years old when she was taken by a stranger on the way to school in 1997. The little girl was walking to school when a woman stopped her and asked the child to assist her in carrying some things home. When Wang refused, the woman grabbed her and fled. Wang soon fell asleep, waking up in Nayong county which was almost 300km away from where she was abducted.
Wang was sent to live with a couple, who subsequently became her foster parents. They were abusive, and would not allow her to leave the house. She tried to escape on many occasions, but each time the couple caught up with her, dragged her back to the house and beat her severely as punishment.
Wang’s parents spent years searching for their beloved daughter, but to no avail – they were forced to abandon their quest. But Wang never gave up hope that she would one day be reunited with her parents. Then, in March of this year, 21 years since going missing, she made a stunning discovery.
The 28-year-old registered on a website called Baby Back Home, which attempts to track down missing children and reunite them with their parents. As she got in touch, Wang was praying for a miracle. Incredibly, with limited information provided and in a country with a population size of 1.3 billion, a volunteer was able to contact her family. “I said: ‘I’m going back right away’,” Wang recalled of the exhilarating moment. “I’m not waiting any longer.” The beautiful reunion came just two days later.”
Baby Back Home said they have reunited 2,382 families so far. A total of 41,225 parents are still looking for their children.
According to the BBC, there is a “lucrative black market” for trading in children – most of whom are sold for adoption. It is big business. A baby girl can reportedly sell for up to 50,000 rmb, which equates to around $8,000. Boys will go for double that price.
An estimated 70,000 children go missing each year in the Asian nation, according to China Daily:
“When children are abducted in the US, the vast majority of cases involve family members. At around 200 per year, true kidnappings in which children are taken by strangers for molestation, murder or ransom are relatively rare. Those held for ransom are usually the children of wealthy families, with resources to match demands. In stark contrast are the poor, often uneducated families of an estimated 70,000 children who go missing in China each year for forced labor, adoption or prostitution.”
So, various apps, social media campaigns and non-profits are seeking to tackle this epidemic. “Social media could be a powerful tool for reconnecting parents and children,” said the BBC’s China specialist, Kerry Allen. “The campaigns might be aided by the growing smartphone ownership in the country, which has rapidly grown to around 50% of the population, and is certain to expand even further. More smartphones mean more cameras, and an enhanced ability to share information about children who go missing.”
Wang’s is the second major story of family reunion to hit the headlines in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Wang Mingqing and his wife Liu Dengying were reunited with their daughter Qifeng since she disappeared aged three in 1994.
“Daddy loves you,” Mingqing told his daughter as the pair embraced for the first time in 24 years. “From now on, Dad is here – you don’t need to worry about anything – Dad will help you,” he added.
“My efforts of 24 years were not wasted! My daughter has been found – thank you everyone.”
“I have a mother!” Qifeng exclaimed as she embraced her mom. “The whole world told me I didn’t have a mother, but I do!”