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Police use DNA to find circus boy's identity

SHANGHAI police are going nationwide in their quest to help a teenager identify himself and look for his parents after he was abducted about 10 years ago at the age of five.

The teenager came to the attention of police when the circus group he was staying with received a routine check in suburban Jinshan District early this month.

He said he does not know who he is, as he was too young when he was abducted to remember very much, according to police.

He has been given accommodation at a local shelter and hopes for good news as police are using Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, to collect tips.

They have built contacts with their counterparts in Sichuan, Yunan and Hubei provinces based on the limited information they have about the boy. The boy was said to be abducted by a rag-picker and brought to Guangzhou when he was five and had to stay at home alone. The rag-picker dumped him one year later and the boy raised himself by picking through garbage. He started a journey early this year, walking along railway tracks from Guangzhou, and reached Henan Province where he met the circus, police said. The boy can recall only that he is from a village in Southwestern regions or Hubei Province, and he can barely pronounce his name or that of his parents.

Liu Ming, an officer with Jinshan police who found the boy, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the priority is to identify the boy.

"If possible, we'd like to find his parents for him," Liu said.

After the police posted the help-seeking microblog online, they received information about possible villages the boy might come from, and their counterparts in these regions are working on the data, Liu said.

In addition, the boy's DNA sample was submitted to the Ministry of Public Security, and they're awaiting any possible match in the database of missing people. But Liu also expressed concern that if the boy cannot be identified for some time, they can only ask the civil affairs bureau to help with his future life.

China has launched a nationwide anti-abduction campaign since April 2009, and more than 14,000 abducted children have been rescued.


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