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Weibo reunites father with kidnapped son after three long years|
Peng Wenle together with his father Peng Gaofeng (彭高峰) shortly after their reunion.A seven year old boy who was kidnapped in Shenzhen in 2008 has been reunited with his father yesterday, in a miracle that could only have happened in this day and age, thanks to the internet.
The emotional reunion was witnessed and live-tweeted by Phoenix Weekly's 《凤凰周刊》 senior correspondent Deng Fei (邓飞), who accompanied Peng Gaofeng to Pizhou, Jiangsu Province following a tip-off that his son was there. Deng had interviewed Peng three years ago, shortly after his son, Peng Wenle (彭文乐), disappeared, and since then has become something of an activist against child trafficking.
Below is an edited translation of a report that appeared on Phoenix Weekly:
The tip-off before Chinese New Year
A week ago, on Feb 1, just before the start of the Spring Festival in Shenzhen, Peng and his wife felt completely unable to share in the joy of the festivities happening around them. This would be their third Chinese New Year without their son.
That evening, Peng received a call from a university student in Jiangsu Province who said he saw a child in Pizhou that resembled his son. The student had come across his son's picture, circulating on Sina Weibo, after a grassroots campaign led by Professor Yu Jianrong (于建嵘) inspired Chinese internet users nationwide to take pictures of beggar children they come across and put them online.
Initially, Peng was unexcited by the call. Over the last three years, he had received many such calls and each time he was left disappointed and depressed. The student told Peng that he would try to snap a picture of the child and send it to him. On the eve of Chinese New Year, that picture came. When Peng saw the picture, he felt his jaw dropping to the ground. The child was his.
Immediately, Peng got in touch with the Shenzhen police, who then, together with their counterparts in Pizhou, decided that Peng should go there soon after the Chinese New Year. Journalist Deng Fei flew in from Hunan to meet with Peng in Pizhou, and began live-tweeting their journey together.
On the fourth day of the Spring Festival, Peng arrived in Pizhou with Shenzhen police officials. They were told by the local police officials that the child was currently being adopted by the woman he now lives with.
On the fifth day of the New Year, just before they arrived at the woman's home, they found out that little Wenle was unexpected not around at home. He had gone to his adopted grandmother's house to play. Peng, by then already an emotional wreck, was unsure if he would eventually get to see his son.