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China: Reunited after 74 years, siblings make a surprising discovery

28-02-2014 Feature

After over seven decades of separation, two siblings were able to reunite in Foshan, China. The Hong Kong Red Cross brought the brother and sister together.

Brother, Lui Shi-ang, and sister, Lui Yao-xun, apart for 74 years, reunite at last. 

Brother, Lui Shi-ang, and sister, Lui Yao-xun, apart for 74 years, reunite at last.
© Hong Kong Red Cross

“I felt my blood pressure shoot up when I finally saw my sister again. I was so excited, as I thought I would not be able to see her ever again,” expressed Mr Lui Shi-ang, who was 88 years old at the time of the reunion.

His sister, Madam Lui Yao-xun, now in her 90s, had grown up in Hong Kong alongside her parents and 12 brothers and sisters. In 1937, Madam Lui and her husband left Hong Kong for Foshan, China, where they started a hospital. The young woman maintained contact with her family through the exchange of letters. However, the Sino-Japanese War, followed by the Chinese Civil War, stopped communication between the mainland and Hong Kong. Thus, Madam Lui lost contact with her family in Hong Kong.

Joint efforts

Years later, in 2008, Madam Lui’s granddaughter, Ms Liang Guo-ping, began to help her elderly relative search for family. “Grandma was getting old and I knew it would be her last wish to see her long-lost family again. I vowed to make her wish come true,” explained Ms Liang.

After experiencing no luck through missing person services in mainland China, Ms Liang guided her grandmother to register in August 2011 with the Hong Kong Red Cross tracing service. The Red Cross requested relevant government departments to assist, and it placed a tracing notice in the newspaper. Soon, the search bore fruit, as an individual telephoned the Hong Kong Red Cross, identifying herself as one of Madam Lui’s family. The reunion was in sight!

Poring over old, faded pictures, brother and sister share loving memories. 

Poring over old, faded pictures, brother and sister share loving memories.
© Hong Kong Red Cross

Odd discovery

And so it was that on an autumn day in November 2011, four generations – Madam Lui and younger brother Lui Shi-ang, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren: a total of 16 family members – gathered in Foshan, China. Laughter and happy tears were everywhere. “Dreams do come true. My whole family was thrilled with this amazing reunion,” beamed Ms Liang.

It turned out that Madam Lui’s brother, Mr Lui, had also left Hong Kong around the same time as Madam Lui had left there. Beyond that, he, too, had lived in Foshan district during their long period of separation. The two siblings had been neighbours without realizing it. Mr Lui remarked: “I was only 14 when I last saw my sister. And who would have imagined, the sister I had been missing for so long and her family were right next door! This is truly magical.”

Madam Lui smiled, adding: “Yes, and now we can go together for tea all the time!”


Four generations – Madam Lui and her brother, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren – all happily celebrate the reunion.©Hong Kong Red Cross