Millions of Chinese hearts have been warmed by the tale of a couple reunited with their daughter after 24 years of searching and self-reproach.
Wang Mingqing (王明清) and his wife, Liu Dengying (劉登英), worked as fruit sellers on the streets of Chengdu when their toddler Qifeng (啟鳳) vanished in 1994.
Wang had briefly left the three-year-old alone while he went to a neighboring stall to get change for a customer. When he returned the girl had gone, prompting a desperate hunt that spanned more than two decades.
“Our daughter only knew our first names and did not know where we lived,” Liu recalled in a tearful TV interview. “For the next six months, I would walk and my husband would ride his bike searching for her. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
In 2015, Wang became a taxi driver and scoured the city of 14 million people during his work hours.
He put a sign up on the window of the car, printed business cards with his daughter’s information and would tell every passenger willing to listen what had happened.
Wang did not have a picture of Qifeng as a toddler, so he used a picture of his other daughter in his leaflets, as they had looked similar.
Chinese police over the years had identified several women who could have been Qifeng, but DNA tests showed they were not his daughter.
His story was picked up first by local newspapers and then the national broadcaster, China Central Television, but it was not until this year, when police sketch artist Lin Yuhui (林宇輝) drew an image of what his daughter might look like as an adult, that the case reached her attention.
Qifeng, now 27 and known as Kang Ying (康英), has been living thousands of miles away in northern Jilin Province.
She had been raised in town just 20km away from Chengdu, and told by her adopted parents that she was found on the road, Chinese media reports said.
She said she had long been curious about her biological mother and father.
After DNA tests confirmed the family ties, Kang Ying flew to Chengdu with her husband, son and daughter.
When they were reunited on Tuesday, Wang hugged his daughter, saying: “From now on, your father is here.”
Images of the reunion were shown on TV and on social media.
“You don’t need to worry about anything,” Wang said. “Your father will support you.”
Additional reporting by agencies
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