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Body found in desert may have been there for 50 years

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-02 07:25

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 cotton-padded trousers.

A bag containing a newspaper, 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.


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