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December 14, 2010

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Home in Shanghai after 56 years

A 91-YEAR-OLD veteran of World War II arrived in town yesterday to be reunited with his family after netizens and volunteers helped him to locate his brothers after almost 60 years apart.

Cai Linsen hugged his youngest brother, Cai Shouxin, who is 83, in a hotel in Yangpu District yesterday afternoon, with laughter and tears on the old men's faces.

"My brother, it's really been a long, long time!" Cai Linsen told his younger sibling, his voice trembling with excitement and emotion.

Cai Shouxin came from Jiaxing City in Zhejiang Province for the reunion, accompanied by volunteers.

They will visit another brother, Cai Yunhui, 89, who is less mobile, in Hongkou District.

Cai Linsen, who lived in Baoshan City of Yunnan Province, hadn't seen his family since he last returned to Shanghai in 1954.

In 1942 he was sent to Yunnan to repair the highway from Yunnan to Myanmar and later to India for military training. Cai Linsen was then dispatched to an artillery regiment as a mechanic and has lived in Yunnan ever since. Cai Linsen's mother and sister visited him in Yunnan after he married there.

But he said he was poor at that time and hadn't come back to Shanghai. In time, the other brothers lost contact with him.

His story was posted on a microblog on by Sun Chunlong, a journalist with Oriental Outlook, a weekly magazine. It was retweeted almost 700 times with 174 comments in three weeks. A local college student, surnamed Peng, helped to find Cai Yunhui in the city and with other volunteers coordinated the reunion.

Cai Linsen was one of 27 veteran soldiers helped by volunteers using microblogs on the Internet in a month.

Chinese celebrities last month started volunteering on their microblogs at to help World War II veterans find lost relatives.

Cai Linsen's homecoming was broadcast by netizens.


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