Tourists roped in to help find missing children in China
A Spring Festival temple fair in Kaifeng, Henan province, has attracted major media attention after it printed information about missing children along with admission tickets and encouraged tourists to help share them through social media.
Personal information of about 300 missing children, including their names, photos, dates of disappearance as well as contact numbers of family members, are printed on paper attached to tickets for the fair held in Han Yuan, a famous cultural park in the city.
"Thousands of people visit the annual temple fair, which lasts for 17 days, and we want to take this chance to do something meaningful," said Yang Shengnan, deputy manager of the park.
The sources of the children's information, who come from all over the country, are from the missing persons' websites or provided by local NGOs, said Yang.
"We have contacted families or websites to update the information before we print them out. Some children have been found, while others have remained missing for years. The parents thanked us for creating one more chance of getting any clue to the whereabouts of their lost kids," she said.
Apart from the special admission ticket supplements, a display panel of 110 square meters with pertinent information has been set up in the park to attract public attention. The panel, along with the tickets, cost nearly 10,000 yuan (S$2,086), said Yang.
She said the park planned to print more paper with lost children's information because the Lantern Festival, which takes place next Friday, will attract large crowds to take in the festivities.
Also, the park is going to share the information of those reported missing who aren't necessarily children, including the elderly, during the Tomb Sweeping Festival in April.
"We have started to collect the information now," she said.
"Losing my son remains a pain in my heart. I have tried many ways and was once cheated out of money," said Xie Liuming, from Hunan province, whose eldest son, Xie Yujie, went missing on Oct 6, 2013, at the age of 6.
"I feel grateful that many kind people offered help, including the ticket method. My wife and I will not change our contact information or shut off our mobile phones. We are waiting for good news," said the 34-year-old father who has never stopped searching for his child.
Most netizens praised the idea on social media, saying it not only helps to spread information, but also raises people's awareness of protecting children and the elderly.