Chinese brother and sister torn apart by war meet for first time … in 78 years

Older sibling fled Guangdong province with her mother and two sisters during Second Sino-Japanese War

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 January, 2018, 2:29pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 January, 2018, 12:35am

A brother and sister from southern China separated by war for 78 years have finally been reunited, according to Chinese media reports.

Weng Qimei, 90, shed tears of joy as she shared a long embrace with her younger brother when they met in Shantou in Guangdong province, Guangzhou Daily reported.

The siblings were reunited with the help of Dream Back to Chaoshan, a volunteer organisation helping people trace separated relatives.

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Weng was among the refugees who fled from Chaoshan in Guangdong to the southeastern China province of Fujian during the Second Sino-Japanese War along with her mother and two sisters, the report said.

Other members of her family, including her younger brother, stayed behind.

After Weng was separated from most of her family fleeing Japanese troops she was sold by her mother due to their extreme poverty and the threat of starvation.

Weng recalled that on the day her mother left, her hands were rough and bloody after she had ripped up grass and scratched bark to feed her daughters.

Her mother also gave Weng half a vegetable cake, saying: “Save it. Eat it when you are starving.”

Weng was sold to a family in Fujian to be a future bride for one of a family’s sons.

She was quoted as saying that she first had the idea of finding her mother, brothers and sisters in the late 1960s. She made inquiries in Fujian, but was told her mother was dead.

“I’ve always believed they were still alive … so I prayed to Buddha every day. I prayed for them and I hoped they would live a long and healthy life.”

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She finally contacted the organisation that helps trace relatives in June 2016.

It first focused on the Shantou area, realising her accent was similar to people living there.

With the group’s help, Weng finally found her younger brother, whose name and age were not given in the report, in a village in the Shantou area.

Weng’s son was quoted as saying that the family would go to Chaoshan to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with her new-found brother in February.