中国春运 ——The China "chunyun" !

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In terms of raw numbers in every category, the Chinese New Year Spring Festival is the largest human event on the planet.



In the seven days of the Lunar New Year, Chinese are expected to spend more than $100 billion on eating and shopping (almost twice as much as Americans spend on Thanksgiving) and buy railway tickets online at a rate of more than 1,000 per second.


But it's when millions of Chinese people go home for the Chinese New Year Spring Festival during "chunyun".


Transport networks have set new highs for "chunyun" numbers almost every year for the past decade, the council said.


Authorities expect travelers to make 356 million trips by rail during this year's chunyun period. Taking the strain is China's high-speed railway network, now increased to 20,000 kilometers -- the world's longest. China's total rail network stands at more than 121,000 kilometers, the second largest in the world after the United States.


The "chunyun" phenomenonp isn't just a marvel of logistics, it also shows how modern China is changing.


Trains are sardine-packed with thousands of snoozing students, reflecting education reforms that have greatly expanded the number of university places over the past decade.



Snappily dressed office girls in high heels can be seen picking their way through plowed fields on their way home, a product of the mass migration of rural people to China's coastal cities in search of better-paid jobs in service industries and factories.


Many of China's new middle classes will opt to drive in private cars and traffic mayhem is now a regular feature of the holiday period.



Many others, however, will choose to escape the frenzy altogether and take a vacation abroad.


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