Liang Qiyou reunites with his son in June in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. China Daily
On the day they were finally reunited, it had been 19 years since Ye Yong (not his real name) last saw his father.
The 25-year-old, who was abducted from his home in southwestern Guizhou province in 1998, stood watching the horizon, waiting for Liang Qiyou to appear.
Once Liang approached, the two hugged and wept.
"I have been missing you every minute and every second all these years," Liang said.
Ye now works at a restaurant in Shenzhen, southern Guangdong province.
He went to the city four years ago after being invited by the elder sister from his adoptive family, who runs the business.
He began the search for his biological parents in May by seeking help from a police station.
"Reuniting with my family has been my dream for years and when I learned that this is now a possibility because of DNA sequencing technology, I did not hesitate," he said.
Ye was lucky. Liang reported his son missing days after his disappearance and has repeatedly made attempts to find him, meaning his DNA was on file and easily accessible using the country's public security database system.
"If there was only DNA information for the son or the parent, the possibility of reuniting them would have been slim," said Lu Baolei, an official with Shenzhen's public security bureau, which carried out the search.
According to Lu, 23 abductees have been reunited with their families in Shenzhen this year.
Named Liang Jianshe at birth, Ye spent his early years in a village in Guizhou with his grandmother and younger sister, while his parents worked at a brick factory in distant Anhui province.
It was a rainy summer night in 1998 when Ye was snatched from his bed by three men as he slept beside his grandmother and younger sister, who was then only 1.
"It was about 3 am. We were all in a deep sleep. I didn't wake up and realize what had happened until I had already been carried out of the house. When I cried loudly, they threatened me with a gun," Ye said.
After being taken, he was transferred from person to person and transported in trains and cars before arriving at a village in Fujian province, where he was sold to a family.
"The trafficker lied to my adoptive parents and said that I was his own child. He pretended to be sad, saying he was reluctant to make the deal. They bought me for 10,000 yuan (,480)," he said.
Losing Ye was a huge blow to Liang and his wife.
"Telecommunications were underdeveloped at the time. We got the bad news several days later from a telegram my mother sent me and we rushed home immediately," Liang said.
The three men who took Ye were arrested a week after his abduction, but they did not know the boy's whereabouts as they had already sold him on to other traffickers.
"Every year, when our family had dinner together on the eve of Chinese New Year, we would put a bowl of rice and a pair of chopsticks on the table, hoping our son would come back," Liang said.
In his quest to find Ye, Liang moved around the country, taking work in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, as well as Shanghai. He estimated he spent more than 100,000 yuan looking for his son.
"We didn't give up. We always believed we would find him one day," he said.
According to official statistics, 756 child-trafficking cases were cracked in China in 2015. From 2013 to 2016, Chinese courts concluded 3,713 criminal cases involving the trafficking of women and children.