Such cases are rare in the West these days but the similarities between such people are often eerie -- as we see below. It just shows the enormous reach of genetics into our lives -- far greater than anyone would normally imagine
For three years Bao Lulin found herself continually mistaken for someone else. Lulin, a waitress from Jiuyang in Guizho, southern China, was puzzled by the number of people who approached and spoke to her as if they knew her.
They would ask her about her work in Fujian Province, mistake her for the daughter-in-law of a complete stranger or ask why she did not recognise them. However, Lulin had never before seen any of them in her life.
The 24-year-old vowed to tracked down her mysterious doppelganger and was stunned to find she had an identical twin sister who was separated from her at birth.
Lulin's incredible journey of discovery began in June 2009, when she was helping a relative run his fruit stand when four grannies approached her. 'You have come back from Fujian Province? Why didn't you inform us?,' one commented
When a confused Lulin asked who they were, another scoffed: 'You must earn big money, and don't want to know us.'
Just a few months later a middle-aged man approached Lulin, who worked as a cashier in a restaurant in Jiuyang and told her: 'You look absolutely identical to one of my relatives.'
Not long after a confused teenager dining at the restaurant approached Lulin and said, 'Yanfei, you work here now?'
Lulin decided to search for this mysterious Yanfei but soon after fell pregnant and had to put the plan on hold. The married mother-of-one said: 'The idea to look for her was always in my mind. I wanted to look for her after my son got a bit bigger.'
In the end it was three years before Lulin was able to start her search for her ringer.
In October Lulin was once again mistaken for Yanfei at work but she saw her opportunity and managed to get the woman's address from the diner.
Last month Yang Yanfei, also of Jiuyang, was playing with her son at home when she suddenly heard her mother-in-law shout, 'Yanfei, come here now!' Yanfei was alarmed by her mother-in-law's urgent tone and when she ran out a woman was standing with her back to her and suddenly turned around. Yanfei was shocked - Lulin was almost identical to her.
The married mother-of-one, said: 'I felt I was looking into the mirror.'
It emerged both Yanfei and Lulin were adopted as babies and have realised that they must have been twins who were separated at birth.
There are many uncanny similarities between the sisters beyond their physical likeness. They both got married in 2007, both of their husbands have the same given name, Bin, and their sons also look identical.
They have the same voice, same friendly, out-going personality, share a number of hobbies, a similar style of dressing, and enjoy the same foods.
They even have the same scar on their finger after having similar accidents when they were six.
Baby girls are often given up for adoption in China because of the One Child policy. Boys are more valued in Chinese society because they carry on the ancestral name and inheritance laws pass property on to sons.
Because of this hundreds of thousands of baby girls are abandoned every year in China. Twins, however, are exempt from the policy.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).