Body found in desert may have been there for 50 years

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu huangzhiling@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Po­lice sus­pect a body found in the desert of the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion to be that of a man from Sichuan prov­ince who went miss­ing more than 50 years ago.

The corpse, which is about 1.75 meters tall, was un­cov­ered near the Lop Nor basin at the junc­ture of Xin­jiang and Qing­hai prov­ince early last month by a group of rock col­lec­tors.

It was found ly­ing face up, clad in blue over­alls and cot­ton­padded trousers.

A bag con­tain­ing a newspa- per, two let­ters, a flash­light and a pair of gog­gles was found by its side.

“As there is no rain in the desert and the tem­per­a­ture was high, the be­long­ings in the bag were still in­tact,” said Tang Tuo­hua, a po­lice of­fi­cer in Mangyan, Qing­hai prov­ince.

The news­pa­per was pub­lished in 1960 and po­lice said the con­tent of the let­ters sug­gest the man was Li Zhonghua from Sichuan prov­ince, who went miss­ing in the 1960s.

Sichuan po­lice have made con­tact with Li’s widow, 88-year-old Deng Guang­ming, and his three daugh­ters, the youngest of whom is 63.

Deng said she mar­ried Li in 1949, a year be­fore he went to fight in the Korean War. He re­turned, wounded, in 1951 and stayed in their home vil­lage for about five years.

“One day, Li told his par­ents he would find work out­side Sichuan. He left and never re­turned,” Deng said.

The sec­ond of five chil­dren, Li worked on the rail­ways and as a brick-maker in Guizhou prov­ince be­fore mov­ing to a farm in Xin­jiang’s Ruo­qiang county, which was his last known lo­ca­tion.

Deng had sent a let­ter to the farm in­quir­ing as to her hus­band’s where­abouts, but the re­ply she re­ceived said the farm had closed and Li could not be found.

Chen Xudong, who han­dled the case, said he has re­quested a DNA test to con­firm the iden­tity of the body.

XINHUA

At­tire found on a body thought to be more than 50 years old was dis­cov­ered near the Lop Nor basin early last month.

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