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CNY Migration

Pronounced: chūn yùn

Literally: spring move

Means: the Chinese New Year travel season

Although the 2010 CNY season has passed, it remains an important reflection of changing times in China. With tens of millions of migrant workers in China, the opportunity to travel home and see family comes only once per year. For some moms and dads, it is the only time they see their children, so the time off and the travel are inestimably important.

The traditional holiday sets in motion an overload to the travel systems, particularly trains, the most common form of transportation, although the government adds more departures to manage the overload.  This time of year has been called the “largest human migration on earth” with an estimated 2.5 billion journeys this year. The highest percentage of these travelers used the train system, which saw an estimated 210 million travelers. This year’s holiday travel rush had approximately a 9.5 % rise in train traffic. There was also a new train ticket verification system was implemented in 37 train stations, to prevent ticket scalping which often sell tickets for twice the regular price or higher.  The train system is strained by the task and the crowding is the norm as many migrant workers inland provinces return to their homes to visit families.   According to He Jianzhon, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Transport, passengers also make an estimated 2.2 billion journeys by bus and about 29million passengers travel by plane, which is a also an increase year on year. The travel season, is an annual test on China's transportation systems

There is a recent release of a documentary film called “The Last Train Home” that brings this annual event into sharp focus.  It follows the lives of one family caught up in this migration, which represents a clash of ancient and modern worlds.  You can click “http://www.urbanphoto.net/blog/2010/01/21/lixian-fans-last-train-home/ and see the film’s trailer. It has won the     Families will sometimes wait in line for days to secure a train ticket home. The film gives a gripping account of the impact of being a migrant family and the sacrifices and unexpected consequences of those sacrifices.

Sources:  Beijing Times, BBC, Xinhau & AP

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