A 14-year old girl went missing from her home in a northeastern port city in China in 1996. Her parents have been searching for her for 26 years but have yet to find her.
On Aug. 15, 1996, Liu Jianping, a junior at No. 17 Middle School of Dalian City, went home for lunch after a rehearsal for a student performance at the upcoming Dalian Fashion Festival.
Liu Peiyi, Jianping’s father, left for work at 1 p.m. after lunching with Jianping. He hasn’t seen his daughter since.
Liu reported his daughter’s disappearance to the police the next day after searching for her all night.
The police only filed the case for investigation in 2018, according to Liu in a recent interview with the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times.
Liu has been traveling across the country looking for his daughter, following any traces and leads that he can find. He blames the local police for failing to do their job since Jianping’s disappearance.
He said two police officers came to his home after he reported his daughter missing on Aug. 16. They looked around and then left without a word. Now, 26 years have passed, and they still haven’t given him any update on the case, Liu told The Epoch Times.
He said that he and his neighbors provided leads to the police, including a minivan appearing in the compound at around 4 p.m. on the day his daughter went missing, and a male neighbor who always threatened his daughter. But the police did not question the man nor seek the minivan, which would have been easy to identify as automobiles were quite rare in the area other than public buses, and this one was painted red and white.
“Go back home and wait,” an officer would tell Liu every time he went to the police station for a progress report on the case. The officers were usually unhappy to see him.
The case was filed as human trafficking in 2018 after Liu went for the third time to the country’s top petition office in Beijing to seek help. He was notified 22 years after his daughter went missing.
Liu Peiyi’s father found a letter on his window ledge in 1997, one year after his granddaughter went missing.
“The letter was written in Jianping’s tone, telling her grandpa that she was hospitalized in Manchuria for frostbite of her hand and that she’d given birth to a baby,” Liu said.
He delivered the letter to the local police and gave them some names of suspects, asking the police to investigate the possible writer of the letter and verify the handwriting.
He told the police that one character in his name was written in traditional Chinese. “Junior school students only know how to write simplified Chinese characters, and it’s not my daughter’s handwriting,” Liu said.
“‘You shouldn’t suspect people,’ is what they have been telling me,” Liu recounted; “but they haven’t done any investigation nor have they searched for my daughter.
“They just told me to wait. I have been waiting for almost 30 years. Do you think I can wait for another 30 years?” Liu asked, adding that his wife is now also nearly 70 and is ill in bed most of the time.
Detained by Police
Liu and his wife lost their jobs as they spent so much time looking for their daughter. There was a time when they couldn’t even pay for their fuel bills during freezingly cold winters, Liu told The Epoch Times.
He went to the village office to apply for low-income welfare in 2006, and the village chief told him that he wasn’t eligible for the subsistence allowance.
“We are freezing and starving. Why do people with private cars and houses get the allowance, but I, with no income, can’t?” Liu questioned the official, and eventually a quarrel broke out along with some physical contact.
“The village chief called 10 security people to his office and they beat me so badly that my back was broken. The village chief sprained his hand when he beat me,” Liu said.
Nonetheless, the local police summoned Liu to the police station and asked him to pay $30 to the official, which he refused to do.
The police then detained him for a week and asked him to pay the sum before releasing him.
“I had to pay an inmate $5 to borrow his cell phone and call a friend,” Liu said. His friend paid the fee to have him released.
He received no medical treatment while in detention.
“My wife hates me because I can’t find our daughter,” Liu said.
“I don’t want to live at all; but for the sake of my daughter, I must stay alive and continue looking for her.”
Petitioning for Help
Recently, a viral video of a mother of eight children, who was shown chained by her neck in a village shack, has prompted an outcry among netizens in China. A netizen called it “trafficking, rape, and captivity” in an online post. Some contacted Liu and suggested a DNA matching in case the woman was his missing daughter.
Liu intended to go directly to Xuzhou to meet the woman, but local police would not allow him to. Instead, they asked him to take blood for DNA testing.
Liu felt the request was odd because he had been tested several times, and his DNA profile should be in the database.
But the police said impatiently, “Isn’t that a lot of work [to check the database]? It will be quicker to test your blood now and send your DNA to Xuzhou.”
Liu’s friend told The Epoch Times that the police probably hadn’t stored the previous test results in the database and that is why they had to ask him to have his blood retested.
“I am worried they might cheat on the test results,” Liu told The Epoch Times.
The Epoch Times reached out to the local police bureau but has not had a reply.
Gao Miao and Sophia Lam contributed to the report.