China forecasts 188 million rail passengers over Lunar New Year
AFP - Sunday, January 11
BEIJING (AFP) - - Chinese authorities are expecting 188 million people to travel by train over the Lunar New Year holiday, an important annual family get-together, a railways spokesman said Saturday.
"We predict that across the nation the railway network will receive 188 million passengers, a rise of eight per cent on the same period last year, with a daily average of 4.7 million people," Wang Yongping of the Rail Ministry told a press conference.
The Lunar New Year falls this year on January 26, but for the Chinese rail network the period between departures and returns lasts 40 days, with passenger numbers expected to peak between January 21 and 24.
Many Chinese have decided to combine their annual holidays with the festival because it falls this year in January, a month that includes three of the annual 14 national holidays.
In recent weeks official state media have frequently reported on mass movements of migrant workers from the south of China as factories close early because of a drop in demand for the good they produce.
The government in December asked provincial authorities to ensure these often exploited workers receives their wages in time for the New Year getaway. According to the official figures, China has some 210 million migrant workers.
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With just over two weeks before Chinese New Year a young boy pulls his suitcase as he and his family head for home at Beijing railway station on January 7, 2009. Chinese authorities are expecting 188 million people to travel by train over the Lunar New Year holiday, an important annual family get-together, a railways spokesman said Saturday.
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