A brother and sister were reunited after being separated by war for 78 years.

The now-elderly siblings were children when they last saw each other as World War 2 tore Asia apart.

Weng Qimei (90) was separated from her younger brother by the Second Sino-Japanese War when she, her mother and two sisters were forced to flee.

She became a refugee while other members of her family, including her younger brother, stayed behind.

The Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937 and resulted in the death of millions of people. The conflict between Japan and China is generally thought of as part of the Second World War.

It ended in 1945 when Japan surrendered, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weng was reunited with her brother exactly 78 years later in the city of Shantou in Guangdong, in south eastern China.

 "I’ve always believed they were still alive, so I prayed to Buddha every day. I prayed for them and I hoped they’d live a long and healthy life."

Weng fled to the province of Fujian with her mother and sisters. While there, they found themselves in extreme poverty, facing the threat of starvation.

Her mother is said to have ripped up grass and scratched bark until her hands were bloody so they’d have something to eat.

But eventually she had no choice but to sell Weng to a family in Fujian, who wanted her as a bride for one of their sons.

Weng remembers the last time she saw her mother, she gave her half a vegetable cake and said: "Save it. Eat it when you’re starving."

Weng has been looking for her family since the late ’60s but was told her mother had died.

In 2016 she got in touch with an organisation called Dream Back to Chaoshan, which helps people trace separated relatives.

Expert people-finders focused on the Shantou area on account of Weng’s distinctive accent.

And with the group’s help, Weng finally found her younger brother, who was living in a village in the area.

On August 20, 2017, volunteers took her to Shantou to meet her sibling. She cried tears of joy when she embraced her sibling, whose name and age are not known. 

Weng now plans to celebrate the Chinese New Year with her brother next month.        

Source: Magazine Features