Chinese soldier returns home after 54 years in India

2017-02-11 15:19:33 GMT2017-02-11 23:19:33(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
After five-and-half hours’ flight, Wang Qi and his family arrived in Beijing at 11:38 am on Saturday, February 11, 2017. After five-and-half hours’ flight, Wang Qi and his family arrived in Beijing at 11:38 am on Saturday, February 11, 2017.
One of Wang’s daughters was sick, so he came with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. One of Wang’s daughters was sick, so he came with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
Wang Qi and his family went directly onto the flight to Xi’an in Beijing Capital Airport. Wang Qi and his family went directly onto the flight to Xi’an in Beijing Capital Airport.
Wang Qi's mother died years ago of depression. She always asked her other sons to find Wang Qi, but no body had a clue. She has five sons, Wang Qi was the third. The family had seen another draft after Wang's missing. His mother said: Wang Qi's mother died years ago of depression. She always asked her other sons to find Wang Qi, but no body had a clue. She has five sons, Wang Qi was the third. The family had seen another draft after Wang's missing. His mother said: "One of my children went lost after going to the army, why would you come again?"
Wang couldn't get connected to his family until 1989, six years after his mother's death. An old photo shows Wang Qi wearing army suit while being a soldier. Wang couldn't get connected to his family until 1989, six years after his mother's death. An old photo shows Wang Qi wearing army suit while being a soldier.
Wang was happy when the people from Chinese Embassy visited his family in India. Wang was happy when the people from Chinese Embassy visited his family in India.
Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India. Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India.
Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India. Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India.
Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India. Photo shows Wang Qi and his family in India.
A man surnamed Li volunteered to welcome Wang Qi back at Beijing Capital Airport on Saturday, after watching the news. A man surnamed Li volunteered to welcome Wang Qi back at Beijing Capital Airport on Saturday, after watching the news.
Wang’s eldest nephew and niece came to Beijing from Shaanxi province to fetch him on Saturday. Wang’s eldest nephew and niece came to Beijing from Shaanxi province to fetch him on Saturday.
Local residents came to the airport to welcome Wang Qi and his family back to China. Local residents came to the airport to welcome Wang Qi and his family back to China.
Local residents came to the airport to welcome Wang Qi and his family back to China. Local residents came to the airport to welcome Wang Qi and his family back to China.
Wang Qi and his elder brother spoke on a video call. Wang Qi and his elder brother spoke on a video call.
Wang Qi’s hometown, Xuezhainan Village in Xianyang city, Shaanxi province. Wang Qi’s hometown, Xuezhainan Village in Xianyang city, Shaanxi province.
Wang Qi’s hometown, Xuezhainan Village in Xianyang city, Shaanxi province. Wang Qi’s hometown, Xuezhainan Village in Xianyang city, Shaanxi province.
Wang Qi’s younger brother Wang Shun. Wang Qi’s younger brother Wang Shun.
Wang Qi’s nephew Wang Zhanjun. Wang Qi’s nephew Wang Zhanjun.
Villagers performed drum dance for Wang Qi and his family. Villagers performed drum dance for Wang Qi and his family.

XI'AN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- At around 6 p.m. Saturday, Wang Qi set his feet on his homeland again in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, after spending 54 years in a life drift in India.

"I'm finally home!" a sobbing Wang hugged his tearful brothers and sisters at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport.

Wang, a Chinese solider, got lost in a forest on the China-India border in 1963. He was rescued by India's Red Cross Society and later handed over to Indian military. The military sentenced him in jail for seven years after regarding him as an "espionage."

Wang settled and married in a rural area in India after serving his sentence, but he always wanted to go home. During the past years, Wang sent many letters to his family members in Xuezhainan Village in Shaanxi's Qianxian County, expressing his homesickness and the desire to go back.

To help Wang return home, the Chinese embassy in India made every effort to get him an exit permit. In 2013, he received a Chinese passport and financial support from the government, which made it possible for him to return.

In Wang's home village, groups of people lined outside the house of Wang's younger brother Wang Shun on Saturday, which happens to be China's Lantern Festival, a day that traditionally represents reunion.

"After all these years, he is finally coming back," Wang Shun said as he prepared a quilt for Wang Qi. "We bought the furniture in this room many years ago."

"He has not changed much, I can still recognize him," said local villager Wang Ming. "All of us in the village have been waiting for his return, and we are just happy that he made it."

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