At the reunion event, organized by Xi’an police, Mao emerged from a side door to a conference room and ran into his mother’s arms.
“I don’t want him to leave me anymore. I won’t let him leave me anymore,” Li said as she held onto her son’s hand.
Mao, who runs a home decoration business in Sichuan, told CCTV he would move to Xi’an to live with his birth parents.
There are no official statistics on the number of children who disappear every year in China, but a system was established in 2016 to send alerts about missing children through social media and mobile phone texts.
Police have helped more than 6,300 abducted children to reunite with their families over the past decade through the DNA matching system, official news agency Xinhua reported.
Kidnapping and child trafficking became widespread in China from the 1980s, when the draconian one-child rule was enforced, with a cultural obsession with sons also fueling demand for kidnapped babies.