‘I have a home now’: China DNA match sees repentant petty criminal abducted as child reunited with parents 33 years on

By Fran Lu

After serving four jail terms man promises to change his ways. China registers 118,000-plus cases of human trafficking in 11 years. — SCMP

A family in China who spent more than three decades searching for their son who was abducted by human traffickers when he was four years old has finally been reunited with him, thanks to a DNA database.

Joy for the Wei family from Sichuan province in southwestern China, however, was tinged with shock as they discovered their missing boy was serving a jail term for theft in Zhejiang province in the east of the country.

The 37-year-old was identified as their long-lost son when his DNA was collected by the prison in April as part of a registration schem

His parents had registered their own DNA with a national network designed to help people seeking lost family members.

The child-abduction victim, now aged 37, is embraced by his mother. Photo: Douyin

The man was reunited with his parents and his two sisters in the Zhejiang prison on November 20, according to Ningbo Evening News.

Using the pseudonym, Mingdong, the man said he had fallen into a life of petty crime and had been jailed four times.

After meeting his birth family, he said he “has a home now” and vowed to turn over a new leaf after completing his prison term.

His relatives hugged him tightly and promised to take him home after his release.

Online observers were moved by the reunion, with many blaming Mingdong’s petty crimes on a life blighted by human trafficking.

“His life was destroyed by human traffickers. It is his one and only life,” one person said on Douyin.

“Parents’ care and supervision are really important in a person’s growth. If he wasn’t abducted, he might be able to enjoy a lot of love from his family and become a well-behaved man,” said another.

“The fact that he reunited with his family because of imprisonment is a kind of misfortune turned into a blessing. I believe he will reform,” said a third.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, cases of trafficking in women and children nationwide totalled 118,598 between 2010 and 2021.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of human trafficking cases have been reported to the authorities in China. Photo: Douyin

China has increased efforts to combat human trafficking in recent years.

A national DNA database was established in 2009 to collect and match the DNA of families searching for lost relatives and a reunion campaign was launched in 2021, with police stations across the country setting up their own family search bureaus. – South China Morning Post

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