On Monday, facial recognition technology reunited a man with his biological family after 32 years since he was abducted as a toddler.
In 1988, Mao Yin, who was a two-year-old toddler at that time, was taken away from his family while he was outside a Chinese hotel in the city of Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Reportedly, he was sold to a couple, who happens to be childless, in the Sichuan province, as reported by CCTV.
DNA test supported facial recognition's conclusion
As stated by the authorities, the investigation regarding the abduction is still ongoing and they hesitate to provide information about the adoptive parents of Mao Yin.
Reportedly, Mao Yin's adoptive parents, who did not know that for more than three decades Mao's biological parents have been searching for him, named and raised him as Gu Ningning.
According to CNN, in late April, a tip-off was received by authorities in Xian that in the late-1980's a man bought a toddler from Shaanxi in Sichuan province, as stated by Xinhua state news agency.
Facial recognition technology was used by authorities to analyze Mao's old photo as a toddler and provided a simulated illustration of him as an adult, which was compared with the national database photos, according to CCTV. The process by which the photos were compared and database details were not given.
After a thorough investigation and further comparisons, a man from the city of Mianyang was tracked down by the authorities who appeared to look like Mao. With the use of a DNA test, he was confirmed to be the missing son, as reported by Xinhua.
Heartwarming reunion after 32 years
On Monday, Mao, 34 years old, was reunited with his biological parents in Xi'an during a Police organized news conference.
Mao appeared from the conference hall's side door, called out his birth mother, and ran toward her. CCTV broadcasted live the scenario when Mao and his parents broke down in tears in a long hold of ones' arm.
Li Jingzhi, Mao's biological mother, said as she tightly held her son that she does not want them to be apart anymore.
According to CCTV, Mao, who at present manages in Sichuan a home decoration business, will move to live with his birth parents in Xi'an.
After Mao's abduction, Li quit her job and started her quest on looking after her son. She has gone on national television programs and sent out more than 100,000 flyers in the search for her son. She has also volunteered in gathering information regarding other missing children and helped 29 of them come back to their biological families.
As reported by CCTV, Mao had witnessed Li talking on television regarding her abducted son and he was moved by her persistence, but he never knew he was the boy Li has spent decades to look for.
An official tally of the actual number of abducted children in China each year is not available. On Baby Come Home, a website used by Chinese parents to post notices about their missing children, more than 51,000 families are registered to be searching for their children.
According to Xinhua, more than 6,300 abducted children were found and reunited with their biological family since a national DNA database to match parents with their missing children was set up by the Ministry of Public Security in 2009