A Chinese couple was reunited with their son after 24 years of searching and heartache. He was taken as a baby outside their front gate.

According to police video, Guo Gangtang and Zhang Wenge hugged their son, aged 26, with tears in their eyes, at a reunion held in Liaocheng, in the eastern province, Shandong.

Their reunion story, Guo riding his motorcycle across China looking for his son, prompted a flood of sympathy from the public and condemnation for abductions.

Guo Xinzhen was 2 1/2 years old at the time. A woman and her boyfriend took him north to Hebei province. This is close to Beijing, China’s capital. He was then sold to a couple from central China.

China is a country where children are regularly abducted and sold. However, it is not clear how often this happens.

This problem is made worse by the fact that most urban couples can only have one child. Couples who desire a boy to care for their children in later life sell boys to them. Parents who are looking for a wife or a servant to be their only child will sell girls to these parents.

According to a statement from the police ministry, Guo Xinzhen was found by police experts in June after searching databases for images of adults who looked similar to him. A DNA test confirmed his identity.

According to the ministry, the woman and her boyfriend were identified only as Tang and Hu and they confessed to having trafficked three boys. Although they have not yet been charged, the potential penalties include death.

The police ministry stated that blood samples taken from Guo Xinzhen’s parents were used to create an “anti-abduction DNA” system, but that no matches were made with the boys believed to be abducted.

Kidnappers are looking for children who don’t know their names, hometowns, or that they have been abducted.

Ding Dalong posted a message on Zhihu’s social media platform, “So happy for Mr. Guo.” “He found his long-lost child and can now move on with his life.”

Others called for punishments for traffickers of children. The couple that bought Guo Xinzhen did not know if they would be punished.

Guo Xinzhen was born in Henan, police say. However, no other details about his life have been revealed. It’s not clear if he knew that he had been abducted.

Zhang, his mother, spoke out about her despair during a television interview in 2015.

She said, “What good is it to me to live?” “It was I who lost the child.”

Guo Gangtang (now 51) started his search with a flag that included his son’s photo, details, and even a scar on his left foot.

Guo posted on his social media that he rode 10 motorcycles through China’s 34 provinces.