The lost-and-found story of Sun Haiyang, who had been looking for his son for 14 years and was finally reunited with him on Monday, has put people who buy abducted children under the spotlight, raising the issue of whether buyers should face criminal punishment.

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Following the reunion, the major abductors have been arrested and the arrest of accomplices who helped them to hide the children is also forthcoming.

Meanwhile, his son Sun Zhuo’s “adoptive mother” and the “adoptive parents” of another abducted child named Fu Jiantao, who bought kids from the abductors, were taken into custody by police and released on bail pending trial, which triggered wide discussion among netizens.

According to Sun, now a senior high school freshman, his “adoptive parents” and two elder sisters in their family in Shandong Province all treated him very well during his upbringing. “The parents almost spoiled me. They gave me anything I wanted,” Sun said. Although the economic situation of his rural family was less than ideal, the parents tried their utmost to provide him with the best childhood.

The villagers said to cultivate Sun, the family sent him to the best high school in their county.

The boy’s biological father, Sun Haiyang, hopes he can come to Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, and live with the family. The son’s “adoptive mother” said they will let him decide whether to go with his birth parents or not, and they will respect his decision.

The other abducted child surnamed Fu is also in a dilemma. He doesn’t want his “adoptive parents” to be in jail but also feels sorry for his birth mother Peng Dongying and is unwilling to change her mind. He is still trying to persuade Peng to be understanding and forgive the “adoptive parents.” He promised Peng that he would do his best to make up the time lost when he was away and be with her as much as he can.

According to Fu Jian, a lawyer with Henan Yulong Law Firm, under China’s criminal law, those who buy abducted women or children will be given jail time, detention, or detainment of fewer than three years. If they illegally deprive or limit the abducted women or children’s freedom, or subject them to injury or abuse, they will also be sentenced and charged with unlawful restraint, intentional injury, or the crime of abuse.

However, the lawyer also mentioned that since Sun Zhuo said the “adoptive parents” treated him well and had never abused him, they can be given a lenient penalty as they didn’t obstruct Sun’s rescue.

Local lawyer Liu Chunquan told Shanghai Daily that although the parents were kind to Sun instead of abusing him, and Sun’s personal feelings should also be taken into consideration, the law is reasonable because if laws prohibiting buying abducted persons are not enforced, human trafficking will never end.

“When there’s a buyer, there’s a seller. And that’s the principle of the law,” Liu added. “Forgiving what the ‘adoptive parents’ have done obstructs the birth parents’ rights. The biological parents can raise the child on their own.”

Many netizens agreed with Liu’s opinion.

A Weibo user “Zhiniudeli” commented that the buyers should be given more severe punishment because the need creates the market. If the authority wants to crack down on abduction at its source, then the buyers should be the first to be punished.

“If the buyers can escape punishment, then there will be more buyers. If these buyers can provide high payments, the abductors will take the risk. The buyers are never innocent,” said another Weibo user “Yimiankanshan.”


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  1. Why are the adoptive parents being punished what did they do wrong. Those scoundrels stealing children are very convincing I’m sure they told the adoptive parents the boy boys parents died or they were abusive don’t punish the adoptive parents it makes no sense

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