One day in September 1997, a woman abducted Guo Gangtang’s 30-month-old son, who was playing in front of the house, according to a girl he was playing with.
Since then, Guo has always saved a seat by the dining table with chopsticks and a rice bowl for his son Guo Zhen. For the last 18 years, Guo has searched for his abducted son and he hopes one day to have a picture of the entire family.
As time went by, Guo’s old house was demolished, and the family moved into a new house. Life is full of changes, but Guo’s determination to look for his son has remained the same.
Guo Gangtang was an ordinary farmer at the time, and on the day his son was abducted, his happy family turned upside down. His parents wept day and night. His mother nearly collapsed, and she required nutrient injections daily to stay alive.
Guo’s weight dropped from 150 pounds down to 110 pounds, and his dark hair turned grey in two months.
That year, Guo was 27 years old and in the third year of his marriage. The day his son was abducted, he had just used his tractor to finish some chores. When he got home, he saw dozens of people surroundng his house. He knew something was wrong.
After learning of his son’s abduction, it was the first time he had ever heard that word in his life. Guo was confused and panicky. He knelt down in front of everyone and begged for help. More than 500 people were organized in threesomes, and they went to all the streets, bus stations, and train stations to search for little Guo Zhen.
Three years went quickly. Guo spent all his savings, but he did not find his son. He was in total despair. Over the last 18 years, he has gone alone to look for his son. At times, he had to cut down the days on the road and sent letters instead to save money—one year, he wrote 80,000 letters.
Every day, Guo rides his motorcycle from one city to another, and so far he has traveled to all of China’s provinces except for Xinjiang and Tibet, and has worn out 10 motorcycles. Guo feels guilty for not doing better for his parents. They are in their 70s, and still have to work to maintain the household.
“Now, I have slowly learned how to let go, to let go of the sorrow in my heart, but not my search. During my journey of searching for my son, many good-hearted people have advised me to be good to myself. I have been through a lot and seen a lot. Now I understand that I still need to continue my search, but at the same time, I need to be nice to and cherish the people around me. When Guo Zhen comes back, I can give him a warm and cozy home.”
Guo will continue searching for his son. Despite the hardships he has experienced during his journey, from bad weather to hunger, and from hope to despair, he has never wavered, and will never give up. Would you be so dedicated?
Over 20,000 children each year are abducted in China, and sold on the black market. Learn about this tragic phenomenon in the video below: