A father whose son went missing 11 years ago has spent the past decade riding a rickshaw around China dressed as his son’s favourite character, the Spider-man, in a bid to find his long-lost child.
Wu Xinghu, from north-western China’s Shaanxi Province, said his toddler son was stolen from his arms in December 2008 after he and his wife were drugged by human traffickers at their home.
The 39-year-old man decided to embark his epic child-searching journey after a Good Samaritan gave him a rickshaw while seeing the man looking for his son.
Come rain or shine, Chinese father Wu Xinghu rides a rickshaw to different cities to find his son
The 39-year-old said his son was abducted from their home as a toddler in December, 2008
‘I believe my child will appear in the next corner, waiting for me to take him home,’ the heart-broken parent (left) said. His son, Wu Jiacheng (right), was allegedly stolen from his arms
Mr Wu told MailOnline that he had so far cycled more than 8,000 kilometres (4,970 miles) across China.
‘I believe my child will appear in the next corner, waiting for me to take him home,’ the heart-broken parent said.
According to Mr Wu, his son, Wu Jiacheng, was born on November 22, 2007, and was abducted on December 10, 2008.
He said on the fateful day, he and his wife were resting at home with their 13-month-old son, and all of sudden they both passed out.
‘When I regained my conscious and realised my child had gone missing, I ran out to the front door and saw it wide open,’ he recalled.
‘When my child went missing, it was the middle of winter, every family was burning coal as a method of heating. The human traffickers must have put the drug in the coal,’ he added.
Mr Wu said he had so far cycled more than 8,000 kilometres (4,970 miles) across China
The boy’s favourite character was the Spider-man, therefore Mr Wu wears the superhero outfit
Wherever he goes, the dedicated man warns the locals about child abduction using flyers
The man said although he had called police, the officers refused to investigate the case, therefore he and his family were forced to find his son by himself.
His brother-in-law was killed in a traffic accident when out looking for little Jiacheng.
Mr Wu said he had ridden trains, taken buses and driven cars in the past to go to different provinces to hand out flyers about his son.
Once he went to the province of Zhejiang, a stranger gifted him a rickshaw in order to help him reach rural places that were inaccessible by public transport.
He said he had visited more than 60 cities in 15 provinces by train, and 34 cities in six provinces by rickshaw.
Wherever he went, he would always wear a Spider-man costume because it was his son’s favourite character.
Mr Wu said although he had called police, the officers refused to investigate the case, therefore he and his family were forced to find his son by himself by travelling across China
The father always remembers to buy new winter clothes for his son who ‘was afraid of cold’
He said the costume could also attraction children and when they and their parents gathered, he would warn them about human traffickers and caution them to take extra care.
Although more than a decade have passed, Mr Wu never forgets to keep his missing son’s wardrobe in order.
He bought new winter clothing for the boy every year ‘because he was afraid of cold as a baby’.
‘The home is always ready for him whenever he returns.’
Mr Wu said due to his financial situation, he often had to slow down his son-searching mission, but he said he would continue.
‘There will never be hope if I don’t look for him,’ the father said.
Why is child abduction a serious problem in China?
Around 200,000 boys and girls are reported to be missing every year in China
Child abduction is a serious problem in China, especially in rural areas.
One major cause is that the Chinese families prefer sons to daughters, resulting in them buying baby boys.
In addition, a severe gender gap – a result of four decades of one-child policy – has made it hard for Chinese men to find wives. Therefore, teenager girls are sometimes kidnapped and sold as child brides.
Child abduction remains a sensitive topic to the Chinese authorities. No official figures have been released on how many children are kidnapped in China every year.
However according to a 2016 report on Chinese news site Caijing, around 200,000 boys and girls are estimated to be missing every year. Among them, only 200, or 0.1 per cent, would be able to find their parents at some point of their lives.
A survey shows that around 64 per cent of the kidnapped children in China are boys
The report also claims that there are more than one million child beggars in China and most of them are abducted or forced to beg by their families.
Baobeihuijia, a website specialised in connecting families with their missing members, has conducted a survey on the kidnapped children in China based on 8,861 cases listed on their website.
The survey shows that around 64 per cent of the kidnapped children are boys and more than 75 per cent of the kidnapped children are under the age of six.
However, among those who are abducted over the age of 13, there are more girls than boys.
The survey also claims that children under the age of four are most likely to be abducted in China.