Netizens from across the country have teamed up in cyberspace to share information about missing children in the hope of reuniting some of the families whom fate has scattered.
The "Sending the Missing Children Home" campaign was launched by the website www.baobeihuijia.com (the Chinese words for "Sending the Missing Children Home").
A woman surnamed Ye who goes by the Internet alias "Shanghai Kedou Mama" said people had previously operated similar but separate websites in Shanghai, Jilin, Guangdong and Hubei.
"The warm-hearted people who have launched such websites eventually started meeting in cyberspace via QQ or MSN. We decided to band together on one website to help those heart-broken parents who have lost their children," Ye said.
Zhang Baoyan started the first such website, in Tonghua, Jilin Province. She knows what it is like to lose a child, having previously been separated from her son for a few hours.
"I have deep sympathy for parents whose children have been kidnapped or gone missing and wanted to help them out by building a website," she said.
Zhang and her husband, an information technology teacher, started designing the website at the end of last year and had their official launch on April 30.
The founders of similar websites soon started using Zhang's website to share information they had collected about missing children.
Zhang said one of the best methods is to take photos of homeless children, especially those who are forced to beg at pedestrian crossings, and then post the photos online.
"Although taking a photo is no big deal, we persist in doing this and hope it could help some parents," Zhang said.
According to information posted on the website, 20,000 children are kidnapped or go missing every year in China.
At the moment, some 600,000 children have either been kidnapped or are missing, Ministry of Public Security data show.
Police rescued 10,000 such children between 2001 and 2004, according to www.baobeihuijia.com.
A Shanghai member of the website surnamed Shen, said: "We have asked a legislator to draw up a motion on the issue for the National People's Congress."
(China Daily June 14, 2007)