The image of a three-year-old girl being abducted by a stranger went viral in social media in China. The parents were able to find their little girl because of the huge digital campaign in the country. The search for the girl sheds light on China’s massive digital campaigns which try to track down thousands of missing children in the country, BBC stated.
The girl was, reportedly, walking with her grandfather in Guangdong, Southern China when a woman approached them asking for something to eat. The grandfather who was willing to help the woman went to buy something for her. But the woman took the advantage of the grandfather’s absence and walked away with the child.
The grandfather commented after the incident, “I couldn’t find [my granddaughter] and felt like I wanted to throw myself in a river.”
The incident followed by a huge campaign in Weibo, which is the Chinese counterpart of Twitter, under the hashtag “First ask for food, then kidnap granddaughter” (translated).
The social media campaign drew mixed reactions from people. Some expressed their surprise and some fury. However, the girl was later found by the police and was handed over to her parents.
In 2011 another child was abducted and found due to the massive social media campaign, reported by npr. It confirmed that the 6-year-old boy’s father Peng Gaofeng, flooded weibo with the boy’s pictures and found his boy because of this campaign.
The report also confirmed that the state department estimated 20,000 children and women were abducted every year in China.
Another report by BBC, which dates back to March 2015, stated about the surge in abduction cases in China. It reported about the development of an illegal market for children in china.
Namrata Hasija, research officer for CRP, IPCS said that children in China were abducted by child traffickers and sold for adoption, labour or household servants or worst, for prostitution. She also stated that one-child policy was also the main reason behind it. Because of the cultural bias, parents who have a daughter want a male child. Lax in adaptation laws and the desire for male child is another reason for these kidnappings.
Whatever be the reason, the surge in abduction has become a pertinent problem in China. At the same time social media platforms have proven to be a boon for those who have found their missing children through them.