Stolen boy home thanks to micro blogs

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An unprecedented large-scale online campaign to help parents find their missing children achieved its first big breakthrough on Tuesday, reuniting a father with his 6-year-old son who had been missing for three years.

Stolen boy home thanks to micro blogs

Peng Gaofeng hugs his 6-year-old son on Tuesday at a police station in Pizhou city, East China's Jiangsu province, after he was reunited with the boy who was kidnapped in March 2008. [DENG FEI / FOR CHINA DAILY] 

Peng Gaofeng, a 30-year-old from south China's Shenzhen city, burst into tears on Tuesday afternoon at the sight of his son in Pizhou city in east China's Jiangsu Province, which is more than 1,000 km from Shenzhen.

"He's my boy. It couldn't be wrong. He still recognizes me and knows how to speak our hometown dialect," Peng told China Daily over the phone on Tuesday evening while waiting for the DNA test results that will prove the wonderful news.

His son, Peng Wenle, was kidnapped from Shenzhen on March 25, 2008, and the family had been trying every thing it could think of ever since to get him back.

"It's a miracle, a miracle that could not be true without the help of netizens," the father said.

"I've opened 13 blogs on the Internet and pasted my son's photo everywhere online, including the micro blogs at Now, the efforts have paid off."

He said he received an unnamed netizen's mobile phone message, including a photo of his son, on Feb 2, the Chinese new year eve, and rushed to Pizhou to rescue the boy with the help of local police.

His son is believed to be the first missing child to be reunited with his family thanks to a campaign launched by netizens on micro blogs at on Jan 25.

Yu Jianrong, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the initiator of the campaign, called for netizens to take snapshots of children they see begging in the street and of other children they think might have been kidnapped. The netizens can then post the photos on the micro blogs in the hope that family members will see them.

By Tuesday, more than 83,000 netizens had participated in the campaign, and there were 588,870 entries about the campaign on micro blogs at by Tuesday evening.

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