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Largest mass migration of all time: Hundreds of millions of Chinese are on the move

2024-02-12T14:24:29.201Z

Highlights: Largest mass migration of all time: Hundreds of millions of Chinese are on the move. The Chinese Ministry of Transport forecasts around nine billion individual trips for this period - a record. Last year, people in China were able to visit their relatives without restrictions for the first time since the start of the corona pandemic. The Spring Festival, which is also traditionally a time for shopping, dining out and staying in hotels, could lead to a short-term economic revival. According to popular belief, so-called “dragon babies” can look forward to a happy life.



As of: February 12, 2024, 3:12 p.m

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The Year of the Dragon begins in China with the largest migration of people in human history.

A glimmer of hope for the economy?

The Year of the Dragon begins in China on February 10th.

The New Year, which is calculated according to the lunar calendar, is ushered in not only in the People's Republic, but also in many other Asian countries.

The so-called Spring Festival is an occasion for hundreds of millions of people to visit their families.

In China, this means that many from large coastal cities are boarding trains and traveling to their home villages or smaller provincial towns in the hinterland to visit parents or grandparents.

The peak travel season around Chinese New Year, known as “Chunyun,” began on January 26th this year and lasts until March 5th.

The Chinese Ministry of Transport forecasts around nine billion individual trips for this period - a record.

This high number arises from the fact that many of China's 1.4 billion people require multiple journeys to reach their destination or are visiting family members in different locations.

It could be the largest migration in human history.

Train station in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou: For the Spring Festival, many Chinese travel to visit their relatives in the countryside.

© Imago/VCG

“Everyone comes together once a year”

The Spring Festival has a similar meaning for the Chinese as Christmas does for us.

“Everyone comes together once a year,” says Liu Haiyang.

The 26-year-old works at a bank in the technology metropolis of Shenzhen in southern China.

“You meet your family, your friends.” She booked her plane ticket a month ago and will travel to her hometown of Beijing, which is about 2,000 kilometers north of Shenzhen, shortly before February 10th.

Last year, people in China were able to visit their relatives without restrictions for the first time since the start of the corona pandemic.

Although the number of trips increased by around 50 percent compared to the pandemic year of 2022, it was still significantly lower than before the pandemic.

Therefore, there seems to be a lot of catching up to do this year.

Every year, Chinese people's love of traveling is expected to benefit the country's economy.

It is currently struggling with a number of problems, including a simmering real estate crisis and heavily indebted provincial governments.

Economists are also worried about low private consumption.

The Spring Festival, which is also traditionally a time for shopping, dining out and staying in hotels, could lead to a short-term economic revival.

Spring Festival 2023: a superspreader event?

In contrast to last year, worries about becoming infected with the coronavirus are probably low for most Chinese people who are now making their way to their loved ones.

However, last year the Spring Festival may have been a superspreader event.

Although state media claimed that there had been “no major infections,” recent population data in particular cast doubt on this claim.

Almost 700,000 more people died in China last year than in 2022.

This number roughly corresponds to the estimates of foreign experts who predicted around one million corona deaths after the sudden end of China's strict zero-Covid policy shortly before the Spring Festival.

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According to statisticians, China's population fell by about two million people last year.

The main reason for this is the ongoing decline in births: only around nine million babies were born in 2023, half as many as in 2016. However, more children could be born again in the Year of the Dragon, which is now beginning.

According to popular belief, so-called “dragon babies” can look forward to a particularly happy life.

(sh)

The editor wrote this article and then used an AI language model for optimization at his own discretion.

All information has been carefully checked.

Find out more about our AI principles here.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-12

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