A Chinese man, abducted more than three decades ago, reunited with his family on New Year’s Day after sharing a hand-drawn map of his village on social media.

In 1989, Li Jingwei was kidnapped at the age of four near the south-western city of Zhaotong in Yunnan Province. He was handed over to a child trafficking ring and then sold to a family that lived more than 1,118 miles (1,800 km) away. When his adoptive parents couldn’t give him answers about his family, he turned to social media and shared his childhood village’s map, drawn completely from memory, according to BBC.

Police were able to use the map and match it with a small village. They also tracked down a woman who lost her son about 33 years back. Following DNA tests, the mother and son reunited in Yunnan province on New Year’s Day 2022, according to China Daily.

"I never thought I'd see you again," Li's mother said as she embraced her son, who broke down in tears.

Since the day Li was kidnapped, he would often draw pictures of his village on the ground with a stick to remember the place he was born in. He turned to his adoptive parents and to DNA databases to track down his family. But when all efforts failed, he posted a plea on the social media platform called Douyin and shared the hand-drawn map of his hometown.

"I'm a child who's finding his home. I was taken to Henan by a bald neighbor around 1989 when I was about four years old," he said in the video he posted.

Holding up the map that included a bamboo forest, a small pond and a building he believed was a school, Li said in the video, "This is a map of my home area that I have drawn from memory.”

The video was shared thousands of times, and police managed to find clues about Li’s mother. They found that she now lives in Zhoukou of Henan province and confirmed her biological ties with Li through a DNA test.

Ahead of their emotional reunion, Li wrote on Douyin about finally being able to meet his mother after more than 30 years.

“Thirty-three years of waiting, countless nights of yearning and finally a map hand-drawn from memory, this is the moment of perfect release after 13 days," Li wrote. "Thank you, everyone who has helped me reunite with my family."

Li started the new year by meeting his mother as well as his younger brother and sister. "I didn't expect to find my family so soon," he said, adding: "When I saw my family on the first day of the New Year, I felt like I was born again."

Representative image Credit: Pixabay