Suffer the children

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Parents thwarted

The weary parents said they would trade anything to get their children in their arms again. Some even offered a reward of 100,000 yuan ($15,000).

Chen Fengdiao from Huizhou, Guangdong Province, pleads for help to find her lost son in Beijing on September 27.

 Chen Fengdiao from Huizhou, Guangdong Province, pleads for help to find her lost son in Beijing on September 27.

However, police came and asked the aggrieved parents to pack up their signs and leave because "they were hindering traffic."

The parents, from 12 provinces, lived in small hotels costing 15 yuan a night. They settled at different hotels each night to avoid police surveillance.

Yet 36-year-old Yang Zengjian, one of the participants, said they were finally captured thanks to "high-tech devices" before they were able to launch a larger group petition on Chang'an Avenue. They were sent back to their homes after they promised not to do the same thing again.

The experience was nothing new for him after his 8-year-old son was lost on August 24, 2008, near their home in Xingtai, Hebei Province.

Yang spent all his 200,000 yuan ($29,880) in savings searching for his son all over the country for the past two years but failed.

Baby Come Home, a website dedicated to China's missing children that connected the fellow sufferers, gave Yang a glimpse of hope. In January, he teamed up with other 16 parents of missing children and toured more than 10 cities in one month.

In each city, the parents demonstrated on the streets with a 240-meter-long banner with 2,710 children's faces and distributed fliers. Many other parents joined them along the way after local newspapers made it front page news.

They met obstacles all along the way. In Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, where the tour started, police smashed their van displaying children's pictures.

Yang cannot understand why they are not allowed to help themselves after the police failed to do their jobs.

He returned home to Xingtai after a search that led to him being put under custody and sent back by police for protesting China's human trafficking laws and enforcement in Beijing on October 2.

"But I won't give up," Yang said.

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