A father was able to track down his family decades after he was abducted when he sketched a map of his original home from memory.
Li Jingwei, 37, was just four years old when he was taken by a neighbour in Yunnan province, southwest China, and trafficked in 1989.
The youngster was tempted away with a toy and sold to a family 1,000 miles away in Henan who raised him, he told China’s The Paper.
Every day, Mr Jingwei would draw maps of his village to make sure he did not forget his home and had “countless nights of yearning”.
In December, he shared one of his drawings online and appealed for help to identify it after hearing about other abducted children who had been reunited with relatives.
He was surprised to get an almost immediate response and a police investigation was launched which led him to his original home and mother after 33 years apart.
In an emotional video, Mr Jingwei fell to the ground as his mum cried: “I’ve finally found my little baby.”
Their reunion took place at the weekend and was organised by police.
Mr Jingwei, who is now married with children, later showed his family the map he had drawn of paddy fields and bamboo forests.
Following the abduction, his mum had unknowingly moved to the province where he had been taken and was living just 60 miles away.
Trafficking and child abduction is a serious problem in China where previous limits on the number of children per family and a traditional preference for boys fuelled trading of children.
Many of those who are reunited with their original family have been reluctant to bring legal action against their foster parents who they grow to love.
Mr Jingwei said the family that adopted him taught him “the principles of being a human” so that he could study hard and become “a talent in the future.”
It was not immediately clear whether his foster family would be prosecuted.