A mentally ill man has been reunited with his family in Hunan Province due to the efforts of a local policeman.
The man, who has been in Shanghai since the 2010 World Expo, had a tearful reunion with his sister late last month.
But it wouldn't have been possible but for the efforts of Zhou Chunjun, a 48-year-old police officer in charge of residents' registration at Huinan Police Station in the Pudong New Area. Zhou found the man in an abandoned house in Chengbei Village during routine work about three months ago.
He was wearing tattered clothes and collected plastic bottles from the streets.
No one in Chengbei Village knew where he came from and when he started living among them.
The man himself had no answer to anything.
"It was hard to converse with him. He would try to escape when he saw police officers in uniform," Zhou said.
Zhou sought help from village officials who tried to engage him but had little luck. The police officer began to worry about him, especially after he refused to move to a relief center for the homeless people. With temperatures dropping, Zhou was even more concerned about him.
"He might not have survived the bitter cold," Zhou said.
Zhou made a breakthrough last month when he managed to elicit some information from him.
From his broken, inarticulate words and strong accent he guessed his name had to be something like "Jin Guangmin" or "Jin Guangming," and that he came from Hunan.
He also succeeded in persuading him to go to the relief center.
Back in office, Zhou scoured the police's population information bank for clues and, having narrowed down the possible counties in Hunan, sent out requests for assistance in the investigation.
Few days later, Zhou got a positive reply from the Xiaduopu Town Police Station in Ningxiang county, Hunan. They confirmed that a 46-year-old Zeng Guangming has been reported missing since 2011.
Zeng's sister, Zeng Meijun, rushed to Shanghai on being informed of the find and the two were reunited on January 22 after seven years — and weeks before the Chinese New Year.
"Our reunion was made possible by your sense of responsibility and hard work," Zeng Meijun wrote in a thank you note for Zhou.