Wang Mingqing and his wife Liu Dengying, from southwest Sichuan province, lost their three-year-old daughter in 1994 when she vanished after being momentarily left alone at the family's fruit stand.
"I looked up and down the street, crossed the bridge, looked everywhere. She was nowhere to be found," Wang told Xinhua news agency.
The couple gave up their fruit business for several years to focus on their search, soliciting the help of local police and welfare organizations. But the efforts were in vain and their daughter became one of the thousands of children that go missing in China every year, often kidnapped and trafficked by illegal adoption rings.
Refusing to give up, Wang became a taxi driver in 2015 in the forlorn hope of one day picking up a passenger who might miraculously turn out to be his daughter.
And then a breakthrough. Earlier this year, a woman living thousands of kilometers away in Jilin province contacted Wang after spotting a sketch of what his daughter may look like today along with the family's story on the internet.
Results of a DNA test confirmed that the woman, Kang Ying, is Wang's lost daughter.
A missing persons alert system launched by the Ministry of Public Security in May 2016 has broadcast information about 2,767 missing children and managed to find about 2,700 of them as of March 15, data from the ministry showed.
But many more are believed to be abducted each year and sold to underground adoption agencies.