Mickey, where are you?


Mickey disappeared when he was six years old on his fourth day of school. In the past 12 years, his parents can only hug him in dreams.

Mickey is Houqi Du’s nickname, the son of Na Jin and Xiaohua Du. The smart and outgoing boy lived with his working parents in a wood cabinet factory on the outskirts of Baotou City in China.

Mr Du said: ” My biggest wish is that he is healthy and happy every day before I find him. My biggest worry is did the buyer let him go to school? “

Mr Du, Mickey’s father, drove around the country looking for his son (Picture from: IFENG, “FACE”)

Mickey disappeared in March 2011 on the day of a traditional Chinese festival called “Dragon Heads-raising”. Legend has it that the Dragon King misses his lost daughter, so he always looks up from the sea on this day every year, looking in the direction of the lost daughter and missing her.

The family have been waiting and looking for Mickey since that day.

Mr Du said: “I walked home with him from the factory that day. I was making a phone call and didn’t pay attention to him, he disappeared.”After searching every street and well in the whole village, the parents had to accept a cruel reality: Mickey was abducted.

Over the past 12 years, Mr Du and his wife Mrs Jin have never stopped looking for Mickey. Their story was also made into the movie “Dearest” as one of the four reference prototypes. As one of the most popular movies in China in 2014, this movie made more Chinese audiences aware of the rampant child trafficking issue and countless tearing parents. At the end of 2021, another prototype, Haiyang Sun, found his son after a 14-year search, Mr Du became the only prototype who still didn’t find the child.

After Mickey is missing, the family welcomed two more children. Looking at the younger son, Mrs Jin always thinks of Mickey. They look almost identical. Holding him in their arms, they always called him ” Mickey, Mickey ” by mistake. They realize facing the pain is the only way to restart life, so when the youngest daughter was born, Mr Du didn’t avoid it and named her “Mengqi means missing and waiting for Mickey)”.

One morning, Six-year-old Mengqi woke up and said to Mrs Jin happily: ” Mom, I have good news! Mickey is back. ” In her dream, she went to school with Mickey. Despite being urged to get dressed first, Mengqi wanted to sleep for a little longer to continue the dream.

Due to the attention brought by the movie, Mr Du received more and more information on child abduction. Knowing the pain of losing a child, Mr Du is helping other families verify the clues of the abducted children and spread notices at the same time as looking for Mickey. The car that accompanies him to travel all over the country becomes a child-seeking information station with more than 60 seeking notices posted.

“Although there is only one Mickey, we are not the only family looking for children. I hope to help other families as well so that every child can return home as soon as possible.”

Mr Du’s car is covered with notice for many other children

Buying a son to help old age and buying woman to get married

In traditional Chinese culture “raising a son to help old age, accumulating grains to prevent hunger “, and finding a boy to support the elderly is also the main reason for boys’ abduction.

Elderly care is a big problem in rural China. As of 2021, there are more than 260 million elderly people over the age of 60 in the country, including 140 million of them in rural areas and the level of rural ageing reaches 23.8%.

Many elderly people cannot endure their life and choose to commit suicide. In 2010, the Research and Analysis of Suicide Deaths in China’s Elderly Population stated that from 1987 to 2010 the average annual suicide death toll of Chinese people over the age of 55 was 72,900, of which the number of suicide among the elderly in rural areas was about six times that in cities.

They have also been disclosed to suffer from diseases- about 190 million elderly people have chronic diseases, and another 40 million elderly people who are disabled have a deficient quality of life.

Fei Deng, an activist on anti-child traffic in China, said: “the government has established nursing homes, but they are limited and not open to every elderly people,”

“In recent years, commercial pensions began to appear, but the profit-driven businesses determine that they are more willing to serve wealthy elderly people who can pay.”

Mr Deng also disclosed: “Some traditional Chinese families believe that it is necessary to have at least one son to help the old. Especially around 2000, when child trafficking was at its peak, buying a boy was the most cost-effective choice.”

However, “buying women to get married ” is as serious as ” buying a son to help old age”.

In 1999, Xia Liu, 17, who had just received excellent college entrance examination results, was abducted on the way home from school.

Tao Xia and his older sister Liu Xia

Tao Xia, Miss Xia’s younger brother: ” Since then, she has disappeared from the world. There were no cameras on the rural roads in the 1990s. To make matters worse, she was too young to have an ID card, and the family conditions were so poor that she couldn’t be equipped with a mobile phone. So we couldn’t provide the police with any useful clues at all.

“At that time, our whole family was desperate, and we were running around like flies without a head.”

Although the room leaks, this poor family has been living happily and contentedly together. ” However, all the happiness is gone with my sister, “said Mr Xia.

Miss Xia’s textbook

Miss Xia's offer from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology

Miss Xia’s offer from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology

Shortly after Miss Xia was abducted, her family received an admission notice from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, but the admitted girl could never see the notice.

To find Miss Xia, the family not only spent a lot of savings but also was heavily in debt. Her mother cried at home every day, not silent tears, but crying and shouting: ” My daughter, where are you? How are you doing these years? “

In 2021, public security organs across the country will carry out in-depth ” reunion ” operations, make every effort to detect the backlog of child abduction and trafficking, arrest suspects of child abduction and trafficking, and comprehensively search for missing and abducted children. Child abduction, the special operation, has achieved significant results.

As of December 2021, more than 350 cases of child abduction and trafficking have been detected, and a total of 10,932 missing and abducted children have been recovered over the years. Among them, 371 were missing for 40 to 50 years, 190 were missing for 50 to 60 years. There are 110 missing and abducted persons who have been separated from their relatives for up to 74 years. The addresses and contact numbers of more than 3,000 free blood collection points across the country have been released to the public. As of December, 19,000 people have taken the initiative to go to the public security organs to receive free blood collection.

Zhengfu Zhu, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and deputy supervisor of the All-China Lawyers Association, analysed to the “Daily Economic News” reporter that the reason why the trafficking of women and children has not been entirely cleaned for a long time is that there is a buying behaviour.

Therefore, in order to severely punish the act of abducting and selling women, it is necessary to achieve the same crime of abducting, selling, buying.

Baoyan Zhang , the founder of the “Baby Home” search for relatives, also suggested that the buyer’s sentence should not be lower than the crime of abduction. Children are thoroughly investigated.