In a heartwarming story gone viral, parents in China were reunited with their daughter after she's been missing for 24 years. The stirring news serves as a powerful reminder about never giving up, but it also restores faith in social media's role in changing people lives for the better.
On January 8, 1994, Wang Mingqing and his wife, Liu Dengying, were busy with a transaction working at a fruit stand in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, when their 3-year-old daughter, Qifeng, went missing.
Tears! Chinese father miraculously reunites with lost daughter after 24 years https://t.co/64or3TPnCA https://t.co/ipGzDi0zke— People's Daily,China (@People's Daily,China)1522766288.0
Local news reports said Wang had left the toddler alone momentarily when he went to get change for a customer from a neighboring store. She had vanished by the time he returned.
Devastated, Wang initiated an extensive search for Qifeng that spanned over two decades.
Update: The missing daughter has reunited with her family Tuesday afternoon in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.… https://t.co/lGb7tL63dx— China Plus News (@China Plus News)1522742403.0
"For the next six months, I would walk and my husband would ride his bike as we looked for her. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack," recalled Liu.
A few years after his daughter went missing, Wang became a driver for a ride-sharing company in Chengdu in 2015 to expand his search efforts to locate Qifeng. He asked for the passengers' help by passing out cards. Because he didn't have recent pictures of Qifeng, he used a photo of his other daughter in the hopes the resemblance would be sufficient enough for any leads.
Wang handed out cards with his contact number.(The Star Online/YouTube)
News of Wang's persistence in finding his daughter went national in 2017 and eventually got picked up by national broadcaster, China Central Television.
A couple have reunited with their missing daughter on Tuesday following a 24-year long search.… https://t.co/24qeWzFx9V— China Plus News (@China Plus News)1522758000.0
Nothing can stop parents love! Man from Chengdu, SW China’s #Sichuan, drove taxi for 3 years, telling 17,000 passen… https://t.co/qm8wZbKWnA— People's Daily,China (@People's Daily,China)1522662346.0
Lin Yuhui, a police officer and forensic artist in the Shagdong province, drew a sketch based on Wang's description of what his daughter could look like as an adult.
Sketch of Qifeng drawn by a forensic artist.(The Star Online/YouTube)
Through the use of social media, a girl from the northeastern province of Jilin happened upon the picture of the drawing that closely resembled her.
According to Channel NewsAsia, there was one particular trademark she picked up on from the sketch.
The 27-year-old contacted Wang and found that she shared similar unusual traits with his missing daughter - a small scar on her forehead and a tendency to get nauseous when she cried.
@ChinaPlusNews When the internet works wonders & humanity has a win.— Kim Khajehnoori (@Kim Khajehnoori)1522838088.0
After a DNA match confirmed she was Wang's missing daughter on April 1, 2018, the woman flew to Chengdu with her husband, son, and daughter and reunited with her biological parents.
"The whole world told me I didn't have a mother - but I do!" she told local reporters.
The Beijing Youth Daily Newspaper quoted Wang as saying, "I can't tell you how much hope, disappointment and despair we have gone through these past 24 years. Now we can finally meet again."
@PDChina I'm so Happy For all of the for the Father who Never Lost Hope kept he's Faith that's Amazingly Beautiful,… https://t.co/kxetjSTNq2— Rebel_boss (@Rebel_boss)1522792410.0
@PDChina I’m not crying.... my eyes are just sweating 😢— melanique🍑 (@melanique🍑)1522800559.0
Twitter was reminded to never give up.
@PDChina This truly proves to never give up, even if the timing might be sooooo long...just don't give up. The fath… https://t.co/22OmnYmSPm— 🍊🥇 (@🍊🥇)1522802944.0
@PDChina There is so much sadness and anger online but every so often a story like this makes us all realize that w… https://t.co/BOfNykJVVh— Jake Andrew Giddes (@Jake Andrew Giddes)1522818574.0
When social media is used for good.
@PDChina Twitter is a shitty place and then a story like this comes along. Beautiful 👍— Zarxon Nixifilitz (@Zarxon Nixifilitz)1522800669.0
Twitter praised Wang's persistence and faith in searching for his daughter.
@PDChina I’m just howling. This is so beautiful. What a wonderful man.— Lady Lovely Lumps (@Lady Lovely Lumps)1522825174.0
@PDChina this father is a hero— Erik Schaepers (@Erik Schaepers)1522744853.0
@CGTNOfficial A beautiful story of faith and of the power of parental love. Thank you for sharing.— Sumantra B Barooah (@Sumantra B Barooah)1522660973.0
@CGTNOfficial OMG her daddy—she’s so lucky! Him too. I’m smiling and crying at the same time. So much love— Ren (@Ren)1522799451.0