Man abducted as child 33 years ago reunites with family through map he drew from memory

He took help of social media platform Douyin and shared a hand-drawn map of his native village

Photo: Douyin
Photo: Douyin

By Web Desk

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 8:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 8:30 PM

Abducted as a child, Li Jingwei, 37, is finally reunited with his biological mother after a hand-drawn map of his native village went viral on 'Douyin', a Chinese video-sharing platform.

Li was abducted in 1989, aged four, near Zhaotong in Yunnan Province, by a child trafficking ring. He was then sold to a family living in the Guangdong Province in southern China, about 1,800km away from his native village.

He tried asking his adoptive parents and even consulting DNA databases to find his origins but to no avail. So he turned to social media and shared a hand-drawn map of his native village to the video-sharing app, Douyin.

"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. This is a map of my home area that I have drawn from memory," he explained in the video. Posted on December 24, the video showed a rough guide of the village, which included features like a building he believed to be a school, some houses, a bamboo forest, and a small pond.


According to the South China Morning Post, the police matched this map to his native village in the Yunnan Province.

After a few DNA tests, Li was reunited with his mother on New Year's Day.

"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...Thank you, everyone who has helped me reunite with my family," Li wrote on his Douyin profile, as the reunion was facilitated.

Child abductions are pretty common in China. According to a BBC report, many children are abducted at a young age and sold to other families. In 2015, it was estimated that about 20,000 children were being abducted each year.

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