Overpopulation rears its ugly head during Chinese New Year

I hate fighting the crowds when I travel during the holidays…but at least I’m not traveling in China during Chun Yun, or the Chinese New Year season.  Tomorrow marks the first day of the year of the Rabbit, and this month more than two billion people in China will be packing into trains, buses and planes to visit family.  In fact, according to BBC News, Chun Yun is actually the world’s biggest annual migration of people. Yikes!

Check out these incredible black and white photos of Chun Yun over the past 10 years.

2011 - Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, a migrant worker holds the train ticket he just purchased between his chapped and cracking fingers.

2008 - Passengers are delayed at the Guangzhou Railway Station due to snowstorms.

2003 - Guangzhou Railway Station. A couple hold each other and weep after having lost their money and train tickets.

2002 - Within a crowded train car, a little boy screams from squeezed.

2001 - A woman exhausted in the ticket lines.

2000 - A train platform attendant helps travelers get off the train through the train's windows.

(Caption translations from this photo gallery courtesy of chinasmack.com.)

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  • K. Chi

    A documentary about this “mass migration” event is currently being shown at select theaters in the U.S.: “Last Train Home.” The names on the film’s credits were all Chinese, but I wondered if the film was actually shown in China, as it provides a rather harsh view on the family disfunction caused by industrialization in China. In one scene, a daughter cusses at her father and actually beats the crap out of him (!) because of the “migratory” lifestyle their family is forced to lead.

  • Suzanne Leung

    @K. Chi – Interesting, thanks for sharing. I looked it up – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1512201/. Will try to see if I can see it!

  • David Lee

    “this month more than two billion people in China will be packing into trains, buses and planes to visit family”

    Hmm, I don’t think there’s 2 billion people in China yet. My guess is that the stat is supposed to say that there are 2 billion train/bus/plane TRIPS being made around Chinese New Year…. which is still a ton.