Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19 - Chinese New Year -Pictorial Documenting the Biggest Migration of People in History

The Chinese New Year is the largest movement of People.
Chinese Search Engine Baidu has a location tracker which it used to track the people returning home.
Notice that most people left one of four cities

Most Chinese no longer remain in their ancestral villages, but instead travel to the big cities to find more lucrative work. Those cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen are filled with transplants from all over China. I live in Shenzhen, the 4th largest, with about 22 million people. It borders Hong Kong, and is in the same province as Guangzhou, the 3rd largest. Guangzhou was formerly known as Canton, the place where the British sold Opium to the Chinese. Both Shenzhen and Guangzhou are in the Guangdong Province, formerly also called the Canton Province.

I wanted to document this migration, so I asked people to send me various pictures from their trip home as well as their stay at home. I didn't want to tell people what kinds of pictures to take. I also found many pictures posted on Facebook, but even more on We Chat (Weixin)(the Chinese mobile Facebook) used by some 300 to 500 million Chinese.

People go home to their ancestral villages and home cities.  People travel great distances, if necessary. Trips range from one to three weeks, depending on one's job, finances, and available vacation days. Everyone has fun. People exchange Hongbao (or red envelopes filled with Lucky Money). Dumplings and special meals are eaten. Fireworks scare away evil spirits, while red banners bring good luck and prosperity. Unwed people over 25 complain they are harassed about the failure to marry.

The pictures tell the story far better than I could.
Notice the Picture of Chairman Mao in the Back


My good friend Alice and her family

Gambling on Mahjong is a favorite pass time during the holidays

It is common to watch the celebrations on Chinese TV, CCTV

Dumplings are eaten for good luck. Some contain lucky money.

Pictures of governmental officers (not her) of their wives or mistresses
displaying inordinate wealth
have led to arrests and charges of corruption - China is very serious about this

The high speed train station from Shenzhen was almost empty by the time
the holiday had come as most people were already home.
Trains and buses are the most common means of transportation.

My very good friend Jing

Thus Dumpling contained "Lucky Money"

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  1. Thanks David for being objectively reporting what's happening in China, it's a good window for most of Westerners...

  2. A really spectacular pictorial, Makes me feel like I was all over China instead of just my parents home.

    Wen, Eric