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Man reunited with kidnapped son after 24-year search across China

In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV via AP Video, Guo Gangtang at right embraces his long lost son Guo Xinzhen during a reunion after 24 years in Liaocheng in Central China's Shandong province on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Guo was abducted as a toddler outside their home. AP

A man has finally reunited with his abducted son after a 24-year hunt across China, handing out missing-person flyers, that burned through his savings and left him with massive debts.

Guo Gangtang, 51, began searching for his then 2-year-old son after he was kidnapped in 1997 from their home in a village in the eastern province of Shandong.

After initial efforts found no trace of his son, Guo refused to give up and began a decades-long search.

Guo traveled China on a motorcycle with a flag attached bearing his lost son’s image and carrying a bag full of flyers.

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Police in June tracked down a man fitting his son’s description in central Henan province, the official Xinhua news agency reported. After a DNA test confirming the relationship, a family reunion with his son Guo Xinzhen, 26, now a teacher, was arranged on Sunday.

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Guo’s son was found after the Ministry of Public Security launched a nationwide campaign this January to solve cold cases involving child abduction.

Police have located and rescued 2,609 missing or abducted children this year, including adults who had gone missing or were kidnapped as kids. One victim was traced after 61 years.

Guo’s motorcycle journey of around 500,000 km (311,000 miles) took him to most of China’s provinces. He also went through 10 motorcycles.

In 2012, Guo set up a website “Tianya Xunqin” which translates as “Find your family on the edge of the world.” It has since helped dozens of people locate family members, he told local media.

Guo Gangtang’s story has been covered extensively by local media over the years, and inspired the 2015 hit film “Lost and Love” starring Chinese megastar Andy Lau in the role of a character based on Guo.

“I’ve found my son, and I want to get back to normal life as soon as possible,” Guo said in a video on his Tiktok social media page on Tuesday.

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