China’s Annual New Year Migration

We visited China and traveled during one of China’s national holidays in 2008.

My sister and her youngest daughter went with us—both are evangelical Christians and mentioned they didn’t believe in China’s one-child policy. I heard this more than once but after they arrived in China and experienced that migration, both stopped preaching about the one-child policy.

It was so crowded, it was as if we were swimming through an ocean of people.

That’s when I decided that my next trip to China will not be during any of China’s national holidays.

In fact, to deal with this migration, says, “China has released a massive rail development program, which will expand the high-speed rail service to 42 more high-speed lines by 2012.”

This Al Jazeera report is about China’s annual New Year Migration of 2010. For readers who haven’t been to China, this may be your only chance to experience a taste of what it is like to live in a country with more than 1.3 billion people.

Tony Birtley of Al Jazeera, reports from a train heading south from Beijing to Hebei province.

Birtley says, “Welcome to the Chinese New Year and to the world’s biggest annual migration.… There’s something like 2,000 people on this train and you can hardly move.”

The rail system in China barely manages to move the average 220 million people traveling home to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family. But the Chinese lunar New Year is on Sunday, February 10, 2013.  That’s when you want to avoid visiting China unless you want to experience this holiday with the  Chinese. If so, pick a city and avoid traveling.

It is possible that a passenger will have to stand for a trip of 16 to 48 hours to reach their destination.

Discover Harbin’s Winter Wonderland


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

3 Responses to China’s Annual New Year Migration

  1. For an in-depth look at this, the largest migration in human history, I warmly recommend the documentary, “Last Train Home”. Absolutely enthralling!

    • Thank you. First I’ve heard of this documentary. I immediately went to You Tube to see what was there and found the film’s trailer posted by PBS:

      Now, I’m going to have to buy a copy and watch it. It looks fascinating.

    • Godfree. After I found the trailer, I kept searching to see what else I might find on You Tube, and I found the entire documentary. As soon as I watch it, I’ll post it with a summary and review so it will also be available on this Blog.

      Just watching a few minutes, and anyone that has not been to China will have a sense of what it is like to live in a country that is a bit smaller in size than the US with more than 1.3 billion people compared to the US that has 315 million.

      The five most populous countries are:

      China: more than 1.3 billion – 19.08% of world’s population and ranked 4th in land area
      India: more than 1.24 billion – 17.14% and ranked 7th in land area
      America: more than 315 million – 4.46% and ranked 3rd in land area
      Indonesia: more than 237 million – 3.37% and ranked 16th in land area
      Brazil: more about 194 million – 2.75% and ranked 5th in land area

      I think once someone has been there and experienced that many people, they may think twice about protesting China’s population control efforts known as the so-called one-child policy. Hopefully, this documentary will help educate the critics.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: