In China, it’s the time for great human migration
For the last week, Soyu has been pondering what she should take home as presents this Spring Festival.
The 20-year-old Tibetan is at an university in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province. Finally, she decided to buy a pair of leather shoes for her mother.
She told the official news agency Xinhua: “My father passed away at a young age, and mother has been toiling on the farm, growing barley to sustain the whole family.
“She has been reluctant to buy new things for herself, and always wears my and my sister’s used shoes.”
Miss Soyu will fly the more than 3,000km from Taiyuan to Lhasa, and then take a bus to her hometown of Ngari Prefecture.
She said: “Although traveling by plane is much more expensive than by train, it is worthwhile since I want to see my mother as soon as possible.”
Her deliberations are typical for Chinese returning to their hometown for family reunions over the New Year holiday.
The 40-day Spring Festival travel rush witnesses about three billion passenger trips nationwide.
Mr Zhang Xu had a much longer journey home than Soyu.
The 32-year-old has flown from San Francisco to a remote town in northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
He said: “This is the first time I’ve returned home in five years. Though he has brought back red wine as presents for family and friends, he is really thirsty for a taste of home."
China’s 270 million migrant workers make up a major part of the travel rush.
According to official research, last year’s festival saw 600,000 migrant workers riding motorbikes from Guangdong Province mainly to Guangxi and Guizhou, the major labour exporters.
With the opening of a high-speed railway linking the three provinces in December, many have abandoned the motorbikes this time around.