The Indomitable Human Spirit

There’s a wonderful story that’s been circulating on the Internet which perfectly illustrates the invincibility of the human spirit, the power of human minds working together, the compassion of strangers and the value of technology to Man.

The tale is of a Chinese man name Luo Gang who, twenty-three years after being abducted at the age of five and sold to a (seemingly innocent) family hundreds of miles away, managed to track down and be reunited with his biological parents by using Google Maps, the website of a charity dedicated to finding missing children, and its team of volunteers.

What’s interesting is that when he first started to attempt to track down his biological parents he turned to the government for help and registered with a government website setup to help reunite abducted children with their families. It’s tragically ironic that a victim of child trafficking, a widespread social problem in China that is a direct consequence of the government’s one-child-policy, would first turn to the government for help. A sign of our times.

According to the BBC:

“He had become one of thousands of children abducted every year in China, very few of whom will ever return home…Earlier this year a police chief in Fujian claimed over 10,000 children had been trafficked in 2012 in his province alone.”

After the government had, unsurprisingly, failed to help him mend a life broken by its own policies, Luo turned to a charity that runs a website called Baby Come Home and to its team of volunteers – who did get a lost boy home. He uploaded photos of himself, details of what he remembered about his early childhood and a hand-drawn map of his home village he produced from memory. Then, various kind and compassionate strangers set about doing some incredible detective work the likes of which Sherlock Holmes would be proud of.

“Over the following months, Luo’s case was discussed on the forum and volunteers posted names of towns for him to consider. Even if he was correct in thinking he came from Sichuan province, that still left an area of nearly 500,000 sq km to consider – twice the size of the UK – and with a population of more than 80 million.”

After a while, someone came up with a vital piece of information.

“Then in March came Luo’s first breakthrough. A motorway map from 1990 had been obtained. If Luo had indeed lived by a motorway, the volunteer reasoned, the search could be narrowed dramatically – the map showed that at the time there were only two motorways in the area.

Luo zoomed in on the satellite imagery and began working his way down the route of the motorway.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Happy history, because Luo found his village and was subsequently reunited with his parents.

Luo told reporters that he kept his memories of his parents and their village from fading by replaying them in his mind every night before he went to bed. It was that indomitable human spirit that enabled him to provide those wonderful strangers as much detail as he did, which was just enough for their collective brain power to eventually be able to point him to one specific area of land. Technology played its part by enabling Luo to connect to and harness the collective efforts and compassion of a team of volunteers, by enabling them to search a huge area of land without leaving the comfort of their own homes, and by enabling them to easily research countless historical documents and maps. Reuniting Lao with his parents, a goal that if at all possible without the advantages afforded by these technologies would surely have taken decades and a great deal more resources and effort to complete, was achieved in just a year. Truly remarkable.

Luo’s is a happy story, but many thousands of children in China are never reunited with the families they were snatched from. In the absence of the one-child-policy, an inhumane concept forced upon a population by a group of mad men who are convinced they are acting on behalf of the ‘greater good’, there would be no black market for child trafficking. Why? Because it wouldn’t be profitable. Why wouldn’t it be profitable? Because people able to give birth to have a second child could do just that, and adoption would be easy, rendering the value of abducted children to zero. And that’s the point, the fact that a black market for trafficking children exists is evidence that many people in China want more than one child. Where there is demand there will always be a supply.

It’s an incredibly brutal and delusional thing to try to and believe you can overwrite the values of other people with your own; to effectively eradicate them as individuals. That’s what the men in power in China have been doing and will continue to do, until the whole soulless, black and rotten mess eventually comes crashing down.

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