China abductions: Parents find son snatched in hotel 32 years ago


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The moment Li Jingzhi saw his son for the first time in 32 years

A Chinese couple whose son was kidnapped at a hotel in 1988 met him after 32 years.


Mao Yin was taken away at the age of two, while his father stopped to get some water on the way to the nursery.

His parents searched the country for him and his mother distributed more than 100,000 leaflets.


The family gathered in a police press conference on Monday, and the son – now 34 – said he plans to spend time with his parents.

"I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who helped us," said Li Jingzhi, the boy's mother.

What happened to Mao Yin?

He was born on February 23, 1986. In an interview with South China Morning Post in January – before he was found – his mother called him a "very smart, cute and healthy" baby.

On October 17, 1988, his father, Mao Zhenjing, took him home from the nursery in Xian City, Shaanxi Province.


The boy asked for a glass of water, so they stopped at the entrance to a hotel. When the father cooled off some hot water, he looked away briefly and the boy was taken away.


The family searched in and around Xian, putting up signs. At one point, they thought they had found it, but it was a false dawn.

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The family together

Li left his job to look for his son – distributing about 100,000 leaflets in more than 10 provinces and municipalities – to no avail.

Over the years, she has appeared on several Chinese television shows to ask for help, including The X Factor. She followed 300 leads, said the SCMP, but no match was found,

In 2007, Ms. Li started volunteering with a group called "Baby Come Back Home", to help other parents look for their missing children.

According to state media, she helped bring 29 children together with their families, while the son himself was still missing. She intends to continue working with the group.

How was Mao Yin found?

In April, state media reported, the police received a tip about a man from southwest China's Sichuan province – about 1,000 km from Xian – who had adopted a baby years before.

The police found the adopted man, now 34, and a DNA test was carried out to see if he was related to Mao Zhenjing and Li Jingzhi. It came back positive.

Mao Yin – who had been renamed Gu Ningning – now runs a decoration company. He said he was "not sure" about the future, but he would spend time with his parents.

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Police said he was sold as a boy to a childless couple for 6,000 yuan (690 pounds, $ 840 in today's money).

Ms. Li received the good news on May 10 – Mother's Day in China. "This is the best gift I have ever received," she said.

The investigation into the disappearance of 1988 is still ongoing.

How common is child trafficking in China?

Kidnapping and baby trafficking has been a problem in China for decades.

There is no official data, but on the Baby Come Back Home website, there are 14,893 posts in search of missing boys and 7,411 in girls.

In 2015, it was estimated that 20,000 children were kidnapped each year in China.

In 2009, China's Ministry of Public Security created a DNA database that has since helped to find more than 6,000 missing children.

And in May 2016, the ministry launched a system called "Reunion", which in June 2019 had taken more than 4,000 children to find their families.

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