Mistaken Identity: Search for missing girl hits dead end with disabled street performer.
It was a bittersweet turn in the story of a missing child, distraught parents, and a disabled woman caught in between.
A female street performer recently became the center of heated discussion online after she was mistakenly identified as a family’s long-lost daughter. The Mou family in east China’s Shandong Province lost their daughter 15 years ago. They thought they had found her after seeing a video of a woman singing on the street who they said looked like their daughter.
The family’s pleas for help to reach the street performer triggered the online debate. The woman in the video was disabled – all four of her limbs are shorter than normal. The Mou family said their daughter, Mou Cuicui, had all her limbs before going missing.
On China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, people expressed disgust over what they said was a practice by syndicates who kidnap children to be mutilated and forced to beg for money on the street.
Police in Guizhou Province, which was where the video was supposedly shot, were alerted to the case and questioned the street performer.
The woman denied being the Mou family’s daughter. Identified only by her surname Nie, the woman was born with her disabilities. She said she has a husband and two children, a girl and a boy.
“I am not from Shandong. Please do not inflict the pressure upon me,” Nie said.
Authorities have collected a DNA sample from Nie to make sure her story checks out. The result Guiyang Police released on Friday morning rules out the possibility that Nie being the missing daughter of the Mou family.
The police database for human-trafficking cases in China is closed to the public, making it hard to estimate the extent of the problem nationwide. UNICEF, citing China's National Bureau of Statistics, said China has cracked 92,851 cases of human trafficking between 2000 and 2013.
Last May, China’s Ministry of Public Security introduced an online platform for the publication of information on missing children. As of December 31, 2016, the platform received 648 reports about missing children, and has helped 611 children reunite with their families.