It’s a question that haunts the 16-year-old. Over the last year, he’s changed cities, schools, and even his name, but curiosity still lingers and his classmates always seem to identify him. He’s even asked his father Shen Junliang, 43, if his mother could take him to school instead. “Everyone recognizes you (from TV),” he told him.
In March 2020, the father and son had made headlines nationwide. They were reunited 15 years after child traffickers abducted Shen Cong — then just 1 year old and an only child — from his home in Zengcheng, Guangdong province. Following a search that lasted a decade and a half, police eventually found he’d been “sold” to another family in a different city for 18,000 yuan ($2,800).
The media attention meant they’d be instantly recognizable, even as the family fought to put the trauma behind them. Shen Junliang says their father-son relationship, which has existed for just over a year, is “precious but fragile.” And it’s also come at a cost. During the time apart, Shen Cong grew up with another family, largely oblivious about his birth parents, and Shen Junliang spent 15 long years searching for his firstborn.