Man in China reunited with son snatched 24 years ago

A Chinese man has been reunited with his son after a 24-year search that saw him travel over 500,000km (310,000 mi) on a motorbike across the country.

Guo Gangtang’s son had been snatched aged two by human traffickers in front of their home in Shandong province.

His son’s disappearance actually inspired a movie in 2015, which starred Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau.

Child abductions are a big problem in China, with thousands taken every year.

According to China’s Ministry of Public Security, the police were able to trace his son’s identity using DNA testing. Two suspects were later tracked down and have been arrested, said a Global Times report.

The suspects, who were dating at the time, had planned to kidnap a child with the intention of selling him for money, said a report by China News.

After spotting Mr Guo’s son playing alone outside his home, the female suspect identified only by her surname Tang grabbed him and took him to the bus station, where her partner, a Mr Hu, was waiting.

The couple then took an intercity coach to neighbouring Henan province and sold him there.

Local media reports say Mr Guo’s son was found still living in the province.

“Now that the child has been found, everything can only be happy from now on,” Mr Guo told reporters.

After his son was abducted in 1997, Mr Guo reportedly travelled to more than 20 provinces around the country on the back of a motorbike chasing tip-offs.

In the process, he has broken bones in traffic accidents and even encountered highway robbers. Ten motorbikes have also been damaged.

Carrying around banners with his son’s picture on them, he is said to have spent his life savings for his mission, sleeping under bridges and begging for money when he ran out of cash.

While looking for his son, he has also become a prominent member of missing-persons organisations in China, and has helped at least seven parents reunite with their abducted kids.

As soon as news broke that Mr Guo’s son had been located, Chinese social media was overwhelmed with messages of support for the father.

“So many parents would have probably given up long ago. He is so amazing and I’m truly happy for him,” one person wrote on microblogging platform Weibo.

In China, the abduction and trafficking of babies has been a problem for decades.

In 2015, it was estimated that 20,000 children were being abducted each year in China. Many of them are sold into adoption, both domestically and overseas.

Click here to see the BBC interactive

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