Tourists roped in to help find missing children in China

A photo of Xie Yujie, who went missing on Oct 6, 2013, at the age of 6, is printed on the entrance ticket of a temple fair in Kaifeng, Henan province.
A photo of Xie Yujie, who went missing on Oct 6, 2013, at the age of 6, is printed on the entrance ticket of a temple fair in Kaifeng, Henan province.PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Spring Festival temple fair in Kaifeng, Henan province, has attracted major media attention after it printed information about missing children along with admission tickets and encouraged tourists to help share them through social media.

Personal information of about 300 missing children, including their names, photographs, dates of disappearance as well as contact numbers of family members, are printed on leaflets attached to tickets for the fair held in Han Yuan, a famous cultural park in the city.

"Thousands of people visit the annual temple fair, which lasts for 17 days, and we want to take this chance to do something meaningful," said Ms Yang Shengnan, deputy manager of the park.

The sources of the children's information, who come from all over the country, are from the missing persons' websites or provided by local non-government organisations, said Ms Yang.

"We have contacted families or websites to update the information before we print them out. Some children have been found, while others have remained missing for years," she said.

"The parents thanked us for creating one more chance of getting any clue to the whereabouts of their lost kids."

Apart from the special admission ticket leaflets, a display panel of 110 sq m with pertinent information has been set up in the park to attract public attention. The panel, along with the tickets, cost nearly 10,000 yuan (S$2,085), said Ms Yang.

She said the park planned to print more leaflets with lost children's information because large crowds will attend the festivities at the park on Yuan Xiao Jie, or the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, which takes place next Friday (March 2).

Also, the park is going to share the information of those reported missing who are not necessarily children, including the elderly, during the Tomb Sweeping Festival in April.

"We have started to collect the information now," said Ms Yang.

Mr Xie Liuming's young son is among those who are featured on the leaflets.

"Losing my son remains a pain in my heart. I have tried many ways and was once cheated out of money," said Mr Xie, from Hunan province. His eldest son, Yujie, went missing on Oct 6, 2013, at the age of six.

"I feel grateful that many kind people offered help, including the ticket method. My wife and I will not change our contact information or shut off our mobile phones. We are waiting for good news," said the 34-year-old father who has never stopped searching for his child.

Most netizens praised the idea on social media, saying it not only helps to spread information, but also raises people's awareness of protecting children and the elderly.