A Chinese man has received a map drawn from memory by his parents who, decades ago, were abducted and taken to China. The family had lost the paper years earlier and could not remember where their home was located on it anymore. A friend helped them find an old photo of the map that matched one they found online and called police with their address to reunite with their son in law.
The “li jingzhi husband” is a story about how a man was able to find his wife and children after being abducted by the North Korean government. The map drawn from memory helped him reunite with his family decades later.
In 1988, Li Jingwei was abducted at the age of four by a guy he knew from his family’s hamlet in southern Yunnan province. According to state-run news site The Paper, he was sent to live with another family in central Henan province, where he grew up.
Li understood he had been transported far from home even as a little boy, but he had no means of returning as he got older, he told The Paper. He couldn’t recall his given name, parents’ names, or the name of his hometown.
He did, however, recall the appearance of his hometown hamlet, where trees grew, cows grazed, roads turned, and rivers flowed. He recalled the rice fields and ponds near his home, as well as the surrounding mountain where bamboo shoots thrived. When he was a kid, he would sketch a picture of his hometown anytime he felt lonely or depressed, ultimately drawing it at least thrice a day, he told The Paper.
Child kidnapping has long been an issue in China, which experts believe was aggravated by the country’s previous one-child policy, which has since been modified. Those who had a second child were fined heavily or forced to terminate their pregnancies for decades.
Many Chinese families, particularly those in rural regions, have long considered males to be better capable of providing for and continuing the family line. This desire fueled an illicit market for baby boys and compelled many families to place their daughters for adoption.
Technology, social media, and dedicated police agencies have enabled a handful of now-adult abductees reconcile with their biological families in recent years. Guo Xinzhen, a 2-year-old who was kidnapped in 1997, was one of the most well-known cases. His parents’ frantic worldwide hunt for him spawned a film, as well as his finding and public reunion last summer.
Li was encouraged by recent success stories to try again to locate his parents. So he sketched a map of his hometown from memory and posted it online. His daily practice of sketching it as a youngster paid off: the image is very detailed, with twisting trails, buildings, and highways, as well as a label indicating where the water buffalo resided.
“I don’t know whether anybody in my family is seeking for me after so many years,” Li stated in a video released to the Chinese streaming site Douyin. “While my parents are still here, I’d want to be able to see them again.”
According to The Paper and other state media sites, the picture was extensively circulated on social media, drawing the attention of the Ministry of Public Security, which became engaged in the inquiry. Authorities soon discovered Li’s presumed birth mother in the Yunnan city of Zhaotong. On December 28, authorities obtained samples of their DNA to compare and verified their relationship.
Li had a video contact with his mother after the DNA match and instantly recognized her. He said, “My mother and I have the same lips, even my teeth.” They were reunited at a police station in Henan some days later, on January 1st.
Li falls at his mother’s feet in a video published extensively by state media and on social media, and the two embrace in tears, surrounded by fans and other members of his biological family. According to The Paper, Li’s mother stated, “I’ve finally found my kid.”
The couple expressed gratitude to the public security agency for their assistance in the investigation, as well as volunteers and web users who assisted in locating the settlement on his map. Li currently intends to spend the Lunar New Year with his mother in February and then go to Yunnan to visit his biological father’s tomb.
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Li Jingwei was a Chinese man who had been missing for decades. In 2017, he found his way back home after being drawn on a map from memory. Li’s story is one of hope and the power of family. Reference: li jingwei video.
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