China's Mass Migration during Lunar New Year
    2014-01-24 19:22:03     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Mao

Hundreds of millions of Chinese make the trip home to see family during Lunar New Year, stretching rail, road, and air transportation to the limit.

This is often described as the world's biggest annual human migration.

About 3.62 billion trips are expected to be made during this year's 40-day Lunar New Year rush, between January 16 and February 24.

The number is 200 million greater than last year.

Nearly 258 million Chinese are expected to travel by rail during this period.

CRI's Alexander Aucott has more.


 

The holiday travel period usually starts two weeks before the week-long Spring Festival holiday, marked by China's Lunar New Year celebration which this year falls on January 31st.

It's common to see crowds of people dragging suitcases and carrying bags, flocking to the main train station in downtown Beijing.

For many, getting tickets has been a hassle.

Li Yanxia, a 37-year-old migrant, is leaving Beijing for her home province Heilongjiang in Northeastern China.

"I have been working for the whole year, now it is time to go back home and see my kids. It was very difficult to buy a ticket. I had to ask many people to help me book one online. In the end, one of my colleagues managed to snap up a seat for me. The sleeper berth tickets were already sold out. It will take me over 20 hours to ride home."

This sort of long-distance travel happens almost everywhere in China. Despite the difficulties of buying tickets and long exhausting hours on the train, the Lunar New Year provids many with their only opportunity all year to reunite with family.

Wang Xiaojie, a 39-year-old migrant from northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has no less difficulty in securing a journey home from southern Fujian province.

"It was extremely hard to buy tickets but I managed to make reservations online. I have to transfer three times to get home. The Lunar New Year is coming, I want to spend the holiday with my parents. I will need to spend 48 hours on the road."

Meanwhile, China's domestic flights will increase to more than 62,000 every week from the current 50,000, while international flights will increase 20 percent to more than 9,600 weekly. Chinese airlines will provide at least 1.1 million seats every day to meet peak travel demand.

For CRI, I'm Alexander Aucott

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