China’s yearly migration peaks ahead of Lunar New Year climax
For many migrant workers the holiday is the only time they will see their families during 12 months.
Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and cars on Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world’s largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax.
China’s most important festival falls on Friday and people were travelling to either return to their hometowns or flock to holiday destinations.
For many migrant workers in the country’s industrialised east, the holiday may be the only time of year they return home to see family and friends.
Weeks before the rush, many travellers had used smartphone apps to snatch up tickets that later sold out.
Some train journeys between cities and rural areas last more than 20 hours, with passengers crowded into cabins that are standing room only.
The state railway operator reported on Monday that 98.8 million people rode trains countrywide during the first 12 days of February. China’s official Xinhua news agency said more than 1.1 million were expected to pass through railway stations in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday alone.
Increasing numbers of Chinese have also been travelling abroad in recent years, reflecting rising prosperity among the urban middle class.
More than 6.5 million are expected to head overseas this year, according to a joint report from travel agency Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy.