Peng Gaofeng Finds His Son

(ifeng)   A Hubei Man Finds His Son Who Went Missing Three Years Ago.  Deng Fei.  February 8, 2011.

Peng Gaofeng is a resident of Qianjiang (Hubei province).  He runs a small telephone supermarket in the Shuikou community, Guanwai Gongmin Town, Shenzhen City with his wife and mother-in-law.  In 2008, his son Peng Wenle was seized and taken away by a man.

Peng Gaofeng began to search for his son.  <Chutian Metropolis Daily> reporter Chen Xinglan was the first to report on his case.  Chen communicated with me many times, often about how Hunan-Hubei people workers in Shenzhen/Dongguan were losing their children.

I was deeply appalled.  In July 2008, I and Chen Xinglan went to Shenzhen to interview Peng Gaofeng and Sun Haiyang, both of whom were fathers whose children were missing.  Peng told me that child kidnapping was rampant in Guangxi -- someone was offering him two children -- one boy and one girl.  I traveled to Guangxi.  Peng went with me.  I found the family in Tengxian county, Guangxi province which was willing to sell the children. That formed the basis of my three articles about the sales chain for boys in Southern China.

My investigation documented that several thousand children had gone missing in Shenzhen/Dongguan in recent years, inflicting tremendous family suffering.  I knew that Shenzhen People's Congress delegate Yang Jianchang was concerned about the issue.  So I went to see Yang in the hope of drawing more attention to this issue.

Yang told me that he was trying everything that he could to help the parents whose children are missing. Through State Council deputy minister Gu Mu, he asked the Central Government to takes stern action against child kidnapping.

After my articles appeared, there was more reaction.  Xinhua and other foreign reports such as the Washington Post about child kidnapping in Shenzhen/Dongguan had clear impact.

In April 2009, the Ministry of Public Security announced its fifth anti-children-kidnapping campaign.  This went on through 2010.  Since the campaign began, there had been 6,574 cases of kidnapping of women, 4,595 cases of kidnapping of children, 2,757 crime gangs being smashed, 17,486 persons detained on suspicion of kidnapping, 3,044 fugitives arrested, 6,785 kidnapped children being rescued, 11,839 kidnapped women being rescued.  Three series of Class A warrants were issued for 30 suspects who were alleged to be involved in kidnapping.

I continued to help Peng Gaofeng to find his son, because I firmly believed that it was possible.  On the first time that I saw Peng, I said that his child will surely be found.  Why?  Because his child had a unique look with very wide brows.  Even though he was only three years old, he looked like an older child.  He can be identified instantaneously.

Peng also believed that.  That was why he searching.  After his child disappeared, he continued to pay the insurance fee.  The insurance company worker was surprised: "Isn't you child missing?"  He said, "I will find my child."

I kept the Peng Gaofeng family in my mind.  I have visited his home.  His wife is quiet and fragile.  She washed her face with her tears.  While Peng and I were trying to rescue two children in Guangxi province, the Weng'an incident broke open.  I hired a car to go from Tengzhou to Weng'an overnight.  Peng was willing to go with me.  It was fortunate that he went too -- Tengzhou and Weng'an were more than 800 kilometers apart and the highway was under repairs.  We set off in the afternoon and we arrived in Weng'an at 5am.

Peng Gaofeng was a driver in the army.  He helped to drive the car along with my hired driver.  We completed the Weng'an report within one day.  On the third day, we returned to Tengzhou.

Over the next two years, we maintained contact over the Internet.  He continued to search for Wenle.  He got more impatient, and he clashed with the Shenzhen police.  He said that public safety was lousy in Shenzhen.  I did not know how to help him.  I could only comfort him as a friend: First, if there is no clue/hint, nobody can help him solve the case; secondly, we ought to continue to search for Peng Wenle but we should not be wasting our time and energy.

In 2009, Weibo (that is, microblog) appeared in China.  I completed the live microblog broadcast of the "battle of the female restroom in Nanchang airport."  Later, I posted the photo of Peng Wenle for the first time.  I wanted to leverage my slight popularity to help find this child.

At every festivity of the year, I would re-post this photo.  I told people that this father was suffering and needed our help.  During those times, many netizens who live in the cities will go back to their rural homes.  Maybe they could help find the child.

Peng Wenle's photo was forwarded thousands of times over the Internet.  Then the miracle took place.

On the second day of the Chinese New Year, I learned there were tips about Peng Wenle.  I contacted Peng Gaofeng.  Peng said that a student saw the photo of Peng Wenle on microblog.  Then he traveled to a certain village in Baiyi town, Peizhou and saw a child who resembled Peng Wenle.  This student then read Peng Gaofeng's diary about his search for his son at the "Baby Come Home" website and was deeply moved.  He called Peng at 11pm on the 29th day of Chinese year.

At the time, Peng Gaofeng was not particularly excited.  Many people have called him, including some swindlers.  This student said, "Let me show you the photo that I took."  On the next day, the photo was sent to Peng's email box.  Peng was stunned -- the expression was the unique one for his child.

Peng Gaofeng checked with many experts and they told him that this was not fake.

Peng was stunned.  He called the local police.  The police station chief came, and said that he would set out on the third day of the Chinese New Year to Tengzhou to find the child.  I decided to end my own vacation early and go to Tengzhou.  Peng was worried that the police may not like the media to go along.  So we decided that I would show up as Peng Gaofeng's brother-in-law.

On the third day of the Chinese New Year, I set out with <New Express> reporter Yin Hui.  <New Express> was interested in the anti-kidnapping campaign on Weibo.  But Peng and others were not able to buy airplane tickets.  So they had to wait to get first-class airplane tickets on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year to get to Tengzhou.

On the night of the third day of the Chinese New Year, I made a microblog post to say that we may have located one child.  We had confirmed that this was the child, but we could not forewarn everyone.  So I only said that I was in a certain city in northern China.

On the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, I entered the case as a family relative.  The police shared their analysis of the case with us.  After dinner, Captain Zhu from the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau Crime Investigation Division and a police officer from the Gongmin Precinct went to the Tengzhou public security bureau and went through the procedures for cross-jurisdiction casework.

After the police from Shenzhen and Tengzhou completed their procedures, an unexpected situation occurred -- the child was not home.

The godfather of the child was the man who grabbed Peng Wenle in Shenzhen in 2007.  He was working in Shenzhen at the time.  He had a daughter, but he might be needing a boy to take care of him when he grew old.

We can now determine that the godfather was the man who seized the boy in Shenzhen.  However, the godfather had just passed away due to cancer last year.

At that time, the police determined that the child was with the god-grandmother and not within reach.  Peng Gaofeng was very anxious.  The Shenzhen police assured Peng Gaofeng: "We must be patient.  When we strike, we must succeed.  If that family is alerted, the child may be moved and we will lose."  Here, I must praise Shenzhen Public Security Bureau Crime Investigation Bureau's Captain Zhu.  To this date, he has never even diverged his full name to me.  I only know that he is the father of a 14-year-old child.  He is very meticulous about what he does. He kept telling jokes in order to keep Peng Gaofeng relaxed.  And he refused our offers to take them out to dine.

Of course, I sneaked out during our first dinner to pay the bill.  I respect these three police detectives very much.

We could only wait.  Peng was in shambles.  He came to my room to cry.  I comforted him and told him to wait.

On February 8, we had to wait for the child to return home.  We worried about whether there would be a clash if we tried to liberate the child among his 'family relatives.'  However, some media were already paying attention to the case.  They saw that my blog mentioned Peng Wenle.

In the morning, Captain Zhu and the local police went to the home of the maternal grandmother of the child.  They found Wenle who was playing around.  They picked him up.  Wenle struggled and cried for help.  The police went to see the godmother and took everybody down to the police statoin.

Peng Gaofeng was sitting on the steps and crying.  When he saw the child, he rushed over to hug him.  The child was shocked.  Captain Zhu was afraid that the child would be scared.  So he picked up the child and took him away.  In a room somewhere, the child told Captain Zhu: "The man who was crying is my dad."

His godmother was crying on the side.  Captain Zhu told us not to cause trouble for the godmother.  He said that she had been very nice to the child.  Peng Wenle was enrolled second grade elementary school.  His name was changed to Han Weicheng.  He was a good student.

With tears flowing, Peng Gaofeng called home.  He kept repeating the one phrase: "It is our child.  It is our child."

With tears in my eyes, I held a camera in one hand to take the video and I used my other hand to post on my microblog to tell all the netizens around China.  We have succeed in finding the child via microblogging.