Exactly how difficult it is to go home for the Spring Festival?


Something big happened on Jan 8th. It is the start of the largest scaled as well as periodical migration in human history – the Chinese spring transport (春运), which was, is and always will be the dominating theme of Chinese media for the next 40 days.

It is predicted that during the 40-day long transport season, there will be over 3.15 billion passenger flow, breaking another historical record set by 2011 with 2.85 billion(sina). To help you get a better picture of the situation, according to Netease, it is like the whole population of China moves twice.637abc07tw1dowkrq7eltj


In soso baike, the reasons why people are starting to travel all at the same period of every year are briefly categorized into 3 aspects:

1. Uneven development of the economy – the east and south part of China is much more developed than the rest of the country, which results in the huge population of migrant workers.

2. The transportation system is inadequate, which fails to handle passengers eruption properly – Chinese railway network is the 3rd largest in the world in terms of miles, but break it down, it is only 5.8 cm per capita (2006).

3. There is not enough long-period holiday. Except for the National Day golden week, Spring Festival is the only holiday lasts longer than a week. And Spring Festival happens to be the biggest festival for Chinese people. Everyone wants to go home.

Oh, and this year, there is another reason adding to list as covered in our previous post: Internet booking.

Photos around the Internet on the spring transport.


Dec 30 2011, at Nanjing Railway Station. University student also has significant contribution to the spring transport passenger flow, since schools finish during late December and early January.


Dec 30, 2011, Wuhan Hankou railway station, a little girl is kissing her father while waiting in line for the tickets.

900x600_7MJF3VSE00AN0001 Dec 29,2011, Anhui Hefei railway station.


Dec 29, 2011, at Hunan Changsha railway station.


Jan 1, 2012, Zhaoxing Station. The total railway traffic on the opening day of 2012 hit 5.096 million people (Netease).


Jan 1, 2012, Xi’an Station.


Jan 1, 2012, Zhejiang Province, Zhoushan City.


To attract more patients, a hospital in Fuzhou City advertised on its screen board that says “come to see our doctors and we will give you train tickets.”


Jan 8, 2012, the official kick-off day of the largest migration in human history. a woman is carrying her luggage.


Jan 8, 2012, a migrant worker in Shanghai is proudly holding his ticket home.


Jan 8, 2012, a man was in argument with the police when his too-eager wish of getting a ticket home was unmet.


Getting a ticket is a difficult home going story, surviving the journey is another.


Nonetheless, all these struggles and torments are bearable and worthwhile, because what awaits them at the end of the trip is home, sweet home.

    1. See: ministryoftofu.com/2011/02/sexy-chicks-on-the-train-spring-festival-rush-themed-photos-in-fhm-offend-many-chinese/

  1. “the reasons why people are starting to travel all at the same period of every year are briefly categorized into 3 aspects:”

    And what about, all the companies in the big cities are closed and all the workers are on vacation.

    Not that I like it, but this happens all the time in China, this one event just happens to be the biggest ever.

    1. happens every year. i have been caught (white american male) in this multiple times. it is not fun. and will never do it again if i can help it.

  2. Three Tibetan monks became martyrs for Tibetan Freedom.

    The world will recognize their moral courage to sacrifice their own lives without harming others to focus attention on the Tibetan cultural genocide.

    1. more Tibetans should do that, save China money and time.

      I would like to send them a $100.00 bucks for a good supply of Chinese fireworks to the nutcases.

      1. nah you don’t need to do that
        if you China stop shooting them
        it would be good enough

          1. between Nepal and Tibet
            it is common practice for Chinese solders to shoot Tibetans that tries to escape Tibet

            1. So it is the same at Mexican/Ameikan borders, soon btw Canada and USA borders.

              So what????????????????????????

              1. Border guards in the U.S. are there to keep people from entering the U.S.

                Families are not trying to escape from the U.S. and if they were they would not be gunned down.

                1. Are you sure?

                  Look at South Park and say I am wrong.

                  What about the Great Wall of China?

                  1. “South Park” is a fictional cartoon. Why you would mistake a cartoon for reality is a mystery.

              2. lol you know nothing about Canada and US
                American would love Mexican to leave anytime
                i guess for you
                there are nothing wrong with anything China does
                i bet you were raise to not to ask why

            2. A group of US marines urinating on corpses of Taliban to show them who is boss in the world and China should do that as well on the dead Tibetans.

    2. Those Tibetan monks are retarded.

      As for these pictures… simply beautiful. I only regret that I missed it this year.

  3. Can some Chinese person explain me what is inside those big bags they carry to trains ? Some kind of merchandise they sell at home ?

    1. I wonder about that too; the only thing I can think of is that they take everything they own back and forth. Otherwise their roommates will steal it all while they’re gone.

    2. I believe most of the stuffs inside those bags are clothes for their family and gifts for relatives.

      1. wouldn’t be easier just take money and buy everything at home? I think market options in small cities are pretty same compared to big cities and it’s even cheaper there

      2. Even in summer I see these big bags, when no need for many clothes. Maybe its cultural thing – need to carry as much as possible (just in case you need).

  4. @markoff… did u even read the article? The wage gaps are astronomical. Also the developness of the cities. In developed china, that is where all the good jobs. In remote cities, it’s mainly slums and farmland. People travel to urban centers because wages are way higher.

    If it was easier to just stay home, there wouldn’t be this article.

    1. we were talking about carrying things, when she could just carry earned money to home and buy stuff there instead of spending money in city where she earn them and carrying huge bags of gifts which is quite stupid, availability of products is good even in smaller cities and money are much easier to carry

      1. Availability of products is good, they are Pumo, Adidos, Nice, etc. Even Kotex pads are shanzai-ed. And those are the ones that actually change their brand.

        Secondly, some of these people come from remote areas where you can’t even find Adidos.

  5. My sympathy goes out to any westerner caught in China on public transport during this period. Seriously no westerner could ever be conditioned to accept such dangerous mass conditions.

    These images and the summer public pool images can explain to some degree the public face of Chinese public rudeness.

    It can also explain to some degree the contempt the CCP has for human life, and the contempt the average Chinese has for the value of human life. Studies of overcrowded rat colonies can explain this dynamic.

    Looking at the crowds easy to see why every pandemic seems to start in China.

    Thanks for the plague infected rodents.

    1. Well if this big crowds was to happen in Amerika or Canada it won’t be like this, I know it won’t.

      No it won’t, there will be shootings and killings all over the place and the cops will gas and shoot into the crowds.

      There will be blood, a red day.

  6. The level of “conversation” here has given me more than three lifetimes of material. In fact, I wouldn’t have to edit or write much. Just a few conjunctions will do, as the banalities and idiocy expressed here is beyond satire.

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