Saturday, 20. December 2014
07. 05. 14. - 22:00
A woman in China stunned onlookers when she jumped into a river in her wedding dress to look for her missing child.
Yun Teng, 30, leaped into the river in Suzhou city in eastern China's Anhui province in her grief and sorrow. Police said she had been "driven to the brink of madness" at the loss of her son.
Police said there were no leads as to where the missing boy was, but the women was convinced he had been claimed by the river.
"It is all very sad," added a police spokesman. "She convinced herself that she had angered a river god and that he would only be appeased if she offered herself up as his bride, thus allowing him to free her son and return him to the world."
She lost her child, aged five, several weeks ago and returned to the riverbank day after day to search for him before embarking on her plunge into the fast-moving waters earlier this week.
A policeman Zhang Cheng was among those who witnessed what was intended to be the mother's suicide. He pulled her to a small boat and called firemen for help.
"She was struggling, shouting that she wanted to be left there and claimed by the river, and that it was the only way the 'river god' was going to let her son return to dry land," he said. "It is hard to save someone when they don't want to be rescued because she was very strong. But we managed to subdue her in the end."
She was in the water for half an hour before she was plucked to safety and ferried to the riverbank where emergency services took to hospital.
No body has been found and the boy might not even have been lost in the river - thousands of Chinese parents face a similar anguish each year when their children are actually stolen.
In 2011, Chinese police rescued 8,660 abducted children, but it is likely that at least double that number were kidnapped. China does not release official figures relating to child trafficking, so estimates are based on the numbers of missing-child reports posted by parents online and of children reported rescued each year.
Estimates range from 10,000 kidnapped per year to as high as 70,000. Most parents who lose children stand very little chance of seeing them again. Often the children are kidnapped to be sold on to someone else for adoption or sometimes they are forced into prostitution.
At the national level, China takes child abduction very seriously. It has a national anti-kidnapping task force that investigates and infiltrates trafficking rings, and there are frequent anti-kidnapping campaigns that encourage citizens to report anything suspicious.
But at local level, where the first, crucial reports will be made when a child goes missing, parents say the police just do not seem to care.
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