More than 100 veterans in the island of Taiwan have found their relatives in the Chinese mainland with the assistance of big data analysis technology.
A 97-year-old veteran from the island of Taiwan pays his respects to his parents in Luzhou, Southwest China's Sichuan Province in April 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of Jinri Toutiao)
Liu Yaliang, director of the "Finding missing relatives" initiated by Jinri Toutiao, one of China's most popular social media platforms, told the Global Times on Sunday that the project has helped 101 Taiwan's veterans find their hometowns in the mainland, with the oldest one being 100 years old.
Liu said one of the veterans has been separated from his relatives in the mainland for 80 years.
In 1949, the Kuomintang (KMT) Party led by Chiang Kai-shek was defeated in a civil war by the Communist Party of China, which later founded the People's Republic of China. Many KMT members fled to Taiwan in the aftermath of the conflict, causing many families to be split up.
According to the company, it first utilized its location database to pinpoint veterans' hometowns and then sent messages to the region's users who have installed the application to spread the information.
In March 2017, the first veteran who found his hometown was Hu Dingyuan, 97, whose relatives are living in Luzhou, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. After reading the message, a journalist from the Chengdu Business Daily voluntarily went to Luzhou and found Hu's relatives who had lost touch with Hu for 77 years on April 10.
"These veterans came back immediately after finding their hometowns and relatives in the mainland through the platform," Liu said. She said these soldiers "worshiped their parents and had a family reunion dinner with folks and relatives."
"When departure, most of the veterans chose to take back a bottle of homeland soil to Taiwan," Liu added. "Occasionally, a deceased veteran's descendant would bring his bone ashes and place them in the family graveyard."
The project was officially launched in December 2017 following a nine-month trial, and is supported by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Liu said.