Hong Kong (CNN) – A couple in southern China reunite with their abducted teenage son. Reunited at an emotional festival on Monday, their 14-year quest inspired a hit film.
San Joao, 18, was abducted in Shenzhen at the age of 4, but his parents never gave up hope that they would see him again.
His father, Sun Hyung, and his mother, Peng Xing, sold the property to finance his search and rewarded him with up to US $ 31,000 for information about his whereabouts, according to Chinese state media.
For many years, according to the Ministry of Public Safety’s website, Sun Hyeong traveled to all parts of China in search of his son.
Hong Kong director Peter Chan’s 2014 film “Darling”, based on the Sun story, grossed more than $ 50 million at the box office, according to the IMDB, and focuses on the widespread theme of abduction and child abduction in China. .
Experts say the problem is exacerbated by China’s one-child policy, which has been relaxed in recent years. For decades, those who had a second child were forced to pay a hefty fine or have an abortion.
Traditionally, families, especially those in rural areas, have created a black market for male children, forcing many families to adopt female children and view men as the best capable of supporting the family and sustaining the family.
This is the couple’s reunion with their abducted son
Authorities discovered the sun in eastern Shandong province after police used facial recognition technology to identify Wu, a suspected child abductor, according to a website from China’s Ministry of Public Safety.
State media have reported that the identity of the sun has been confirmed by DNA analysis.
Wu was arrested in connection with the abduction of two children, including Sun, police said. Sun’s foster father and mother have been released on bail pending trial, state media reported.
In a twist to the story, Sun told state media that he had been staying with his adoptive parents for more than 10 years and that he did not know about his true ancestry before.
Under Chinese law, the maximum penalty for human trafficking is death, and those who buy abducted persons face up to three years in prison.
It is not clear how many children go missing in China each year, although estimates are in the tens of thousands. China ranks 3rd by the US State Department’s anti-trafficking agency, which is at a very low level, meaning “the government has not fully met the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking.”
According to Chinese officials, more than 8,000 abducted children were reunited with their parents in 2021, and many cases have been settled using technology such as China’s largest police DNA database and facial recognition.
– Additional information from Jesse Jung of CNN.