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Man Kidnapped as a Kid Finds Family with Hand-Drawn Map of His Village

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 07, 2022

a map hand-drawn from memory of a childhood village

A Chinese man who was abducted from his family when he was four years old recently found his mother by drawing a map of his village from memory and posting it online. From The Guardian:

Thirty years ago, when Li Jingwei was four years old, a neighbour abducted him from his home village in China’s Yunnan province and sold him to a child trafficking ring.

Now he has been reunited with his mother after drawing a map of his home village from his memories of three decades ago and sharing it on a popular video-sharing app in the hope that someone might be able to identify it.

“I’m a child who’s looking for his home,” Li said in the video. Unable to recall the name of his village or his address, Li’s recollection and reconstruction of the village’s key features - including a school, a bamboo forest and a pond - proved crucial.

“I knew the trees, stones, cows and even which roads turn and where the water flows,” Li said in an interview with the Paper, a Chinese media outlet.

When I first read this story, I was interested in the incredible drawn-from-memory map but now I’m wondering about what kind of relationship Li has with the people who arranged to have him abducted (which the article calls his “adoptive parents”??!?) (via the morning news)