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Childhood map helps ‘trafficked’ Chinese man reunite with his family after decades

BEIJING: Since he was a child, Li Jingwei did not know his real name. He did not know where he was born, or for certain how old he was — until he found his biological family last month with the help of a long-remembered map.
Li was a victim of child trafficking. In 1989 when he was 4 years old, a bald neighbor lured him away by saying they would go look at cars, which were rare in rural villages.
That was the last time he saw his home, Li said. The neighbor took him behind a hill to a road where three bicycles and four other kidnappers were waiting. He cried, but they put him on a bike and rode away.
“I wanted to go home but they didn’t allow that,” Li said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Two hours later, I knew I wouldn’t be going back home and I must have met bad people.”

A map Li Jingwei drew from memory of his childhood village is shown in Lankao in central China’s Henan Province  on Jan. 5, 2022. (Li Jingwei via AP)

He remembers being taken on a train. Eventually he was sold to a family in another province, Henan.
“Because I was too young, only 4, and I hadn’t gone to school yet, I couldn’t remember anything, including the names” of his parents and hometown, he said.
Etched in his memory, however, was the landscape of his village in the southwestern city of Zhaotong, Yunnan province. He remembered the mountains, bamboo forest, a pond next his…

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