The picture to the right shows a kidnapped young boy called Yang Weixin. He was taken from his home in Quanzhou, Fujian on July, 20, 2009. His parents have been earnestly searching for him for a heartbreaking past 2 years. Their search was nothing but a series of dead ends until one day his mother found a photo of him online begging.
Last year, an online user took a photo of a woman and three children begging outside the Xiamen railway station and posted it online. One of those children in the photo was Yang Weixin.
As soon as Yang Weixin’s mother, Hong Pei saw the photo of a little boy begging — his legs had been broken by then but she was certain that it was her son. Hong Pei and her husband immediately went to Xiamen and searched the train station from 5 in the morning to 8 at night for several days, however they weren’t able to track down Weixin.
Hong Pei describes how the photo gave her hope while also sending her into tortured despair. She said that earlier, she had at least harbored the hope that her son might have been sold to a family to be a son and not forced to become a beggar. The photo, however, shows otherwise.
Meanwhile, another father contacted Weixin’s parents saying, my son who’s been gone for 3 years is pictured in the photo with your son. After that, the parents teamed up together to search for their missing children.
Eventually on Jan. 17 of this year, Weixin’s mother wrote a letter to Professor Yu Jianrong at the Institute for Social Sciences and Rural Development. Professor Yu helped create a Sina Weibo account to post the photo of Yang Weixin up, asking for tips on his whereabouts and also invited others to send in photos of child beggars. SInce then, the internet community has taken up their cause for missing children — the microblog has nearly 10,000 followers. Prof. Yu says you can even see instances of their posted photos leading the police to rescue the kids.
Yang Weixin still remains missing but his photo has been reposted thousands of time online and his parents haven’t given up their search. Here is the Weibo account @随手拍照解救乞讨儿童, roughly translated as “@taking photos of beggar children to save them”. The next time you encounter a begging child, here is one way you might be able to help.