02/04/2005, 00.00
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Almost two billion trips for Chinese New Year

With springtime in the air the world's largest nation goes through the biggest annual human migration.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – During China's peak lunar New Year travel season, which runs from January 28 to February 9, almost two billion trips will be made. This makes it the world's biggest annual human migration.

Tradition demands in fact that family members, wherever they may be, go home to be together to celebrate the New Year.

According to Xinhua, China's state news agency, the Transport Ministry estimates that some 12.6 million people will travel by plane, 145 million by train, and 1.79 billion by road.

By way of example of how big the phenomenon is, in one single day, more than 100,000 people left Guangzhou Railway Station.

To stem the flow, the Railway Ministry raised prices by 20 per cent; still, the demand remains high.

To cope with the number of travellers, domestic airline companies have added almost 11,000 flights to their regular schedule, some averaging 270 a day.

On the other hand, migrant workers and out-of-town students can take advantage of low-priced trains.

For the Chinese, the lunar New Year is the beginning of springtime, a time to settle debts and a time to hope for a better life.


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