Dad has spent two decades riding around China looking for his kidnapped son

2018-06-22 13:58
Guo Gangtang. (Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA).

Guo Gangtang. (Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA).

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A father who’s spent two decades riding around China looking for his kidnapped son has covered more miles than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Guo Gangtang (48) started his journey 21 years ago in September 1997, when his then two-year-old son Guo Zhen was abducted while playing alone in front of their home in Litaitun village in Liaocheng city in East China’s Shandong Province.

He’s since travelled to nearly 30 different Chinese provinces and regions searching for his firstborn.

He’s broken 10 motorbikes and covered more than 400,000km in the process.

Carrying around banners and flags with his son’s picture on them, he’s also slept under bridges, in temples and in internet cafés along the way, often having to do part-time work to fund his impossible journey.

"My son’s name is Guo Zhen. He was born in April 1995 and his left pinky toe has a scar on it," that’s the phrase Gangtang has repeated for 21 years.

Gangtang, who has had two more children since his son’s disappearance, sets off whenever he receives tips and leads from members of the public and only returns home when the trail goes cold.

"I only feel like a real father when I’m on the road searching for him. I can’t stop because I can’t let him down," he said in 2015.

Despite 21 years on the road, he hasn’t been able to find his son, but he’s become an influential member of missing-persons organisations which help families with similar experiences.

Gangtang himself is said to be responsible for reuniting seven children with their parents thanks to the huge banner he carries around containing pictures and names.

Having covered more than the distance between the Earth and the Moon – which is 385 000km – Gangtang’s experience was also adapted into the 2015 feature film Lost and Love starring Hong Kong acting royalty Andy Lau.

In April, when another man who was also trying to find his daughter was finally reunited with her after 24 hours, Guo wrote on social media: "Persist and miracles will happen!"

Read more on:    china
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