A Chinese man was finally reunited with his family on Tuesday, 24 years after he was kidnapped by child traffickers as a 4-year-old boy. Sun Bin was taken from his family during a trip to a vegetable market in his hometown in Sichuan province 1991. He says that he was then sold to another family in Jiangsu province, thousands of miles away.

Chinese police say that trafficking is a major problem in China where traffickers often sell kidnapped children to couples hoping to adopt. Boys often fetch a larger price, they say, due to their being prized for the ability to carry on a family name.

Sun’s emotional reunion with his long lost family took place at a police station in Chengdu, where the 28-year-old Sun dropped to his knees and wept as he was embraced by his father Sun Youhong.

“You’re a man. Don’t cry,” said the elder Sun. When asked his feelings on reuniting with his long lost boy, Sun Youhong said that he was happy and grateful to have his son back but also bitter for the time that had been stolen from them. He explained that when the boy had gone missing, he and his wife had dropped everything to search for him and that Sun Bin’s mother had even traveled to other provinces in search of her lost child.

Tragically however, Sun Bin’s mother passed away from cancer in 2011 without ever finding out what happened to him.

“To find our son had been my wife’s biggest wish in life,” Sun Youhong told the state news agency Xinhua. “And days before she passed away she was constantly murmuring our son’s name.”

Sun Bin told journalists that he had always known he was adopted but had no idea that he’d been kidnapped from his birth parents. As his desire to discover his history grew stronger, he decided to try and find his biological parents and left a DNA sample at a Jiangsu police station in October of 2014. Recently he received a call saying that a match had been found.

Sun Bin’s father said that he was disappointed to learn that his son was forced to quit school at the age of 15 in order to go to work and would’ve been given the opportunity to stay in school if he had not been abducted. The elder Sun also accused the adoptive parents of breaking the law for accepting the missing boy but says that he won’t press charges if his son returns to his birth town.

Though Sun Bin has not announced whether or not he plans to leave the town he grew up in, he’s currently enjoying reuniting with his father and a sister who he had never met.

Stay Connected

Join over 100,000 of your peers and receive our weekly newsletter which features the top trends, news and expert analysis to help keep you ahead of the curve