Photos: Millions of migrants leave Beijing for Lunar holidays with one-way tickets

UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2018 01:08 PM IST
Passengers travel on a crowded train during a 26-hour journey from Beijing to Chengdu ahead of the Lunar New Year. Millions of Chinese have begun heading home from Beijing for the holidays, but many this year will not return as China’s capital becomes increasingly unwelcoming for the migrants from the provinces who once powered its economy. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
A Chinese soldier stands in the main hall while crowd carrying parcels and suitcases and packs of instant noodles rush past at the Beijing West Railway Station to board packed trains. Throughout the country, hundreds of millions will be on the move in the world’s largest annual human migration. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
Travellers rush to the control gates before boarding trains at the West Railway Station. Many Beijing residents have bought a one-way ticket this time, in the face of demolitions that have made life impossible for migrant workers. Beijing seeks to cap its population at 23 million by 2020 and demolish 40 million square metres of illegal structures - mostly shops and homes for low-income residents. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
Passengers aboard a crowded train leave from the station in Beijing. Travellers must be home by Thursday to usher in the New Year on Friday. But getting there is an ordeal. Only the lucky passengers were able to snag a seat. Many had to stand for the entire trip, clogging the aisles and meals on plastic trays were passed from passenger to passenger. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
To get some breathing space in the stuffy carriages, some stood on top of seats, surveying the scene below. But few complained. Beijing authorities don’t want migrant workers to reside here in a move being called economic upgrading. Authorities say the campaign to demolish sub-standard housing, is necessary to clean the city up once and for all. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
The mood in the dining car was sombre despite the cheerful red and gold decorations. Although making its periphery, migrants have kept China’s economy humming -- handling dreary, difficult and sometimes dangerous work that permanent residents shun. Industries like construction, domestic work and sanitation are almost completely staffed by migrants. Their exodus from Beijing has already slowed the city’s year-on-year growth. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
A waitress (C) tries to make her way through passengers on a crowded car. Passengers made 732 million trips from February 1 to February 10 for this year’s holiday travel period, down by 3% from last year. The transport ministry attributed the drop to university students and migrant workers who returned home during the November and December evictions. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
Unsure of whether they’d be returning to Beijing when the 15-day festival is over, people passed time playing on smartphones, sharing food and chatting with fellow passengers. Even the children mostly stayed quiet. The brutal efficiency of the demolitions and mass evictions over the past year has provoked an unusual public outcry that has officials on edge and residents uncertain. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

Passengers travel on a crowded train during a 26-hour journey from Beijing to Chengdu ahead of the Lunar New Year. Millions of Chinese have begun heading home from Beijing for the holidays, but many this year will not return as China’s capital becomes increasingly unwelcoming for the migrants from the provinces who once powered its economy. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

A Chinese soldier stands in the main hall while crowd carrying parcels and suitcases and packs of instant noodles rush past at the Beijing West Railway Station to board packed trains. Throughout the country, hundreds of millions will be on the move in the world’s largest annual human migration. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

Travellers rush to the control gates before boarding trains at the West Railway Station. Many Beijing residents have bought a one-way ticket this time, in the face of demolitions that have made life impossible for migrant workers. Beijing seeks to cap its population at 23 million by 2020 and demolish 40 million square metres of illegal structures - mostly shops and homes for low-income residents. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

Passengers aboard a crowded train leave from the station in Beijing. Travellers must be home by Thursday to usher in the New Year on Friday. But getting there is an ordeal. Only the lucky passengers were able to snag a seat. Many had to stand for the entire trip, clogging the aisles and meals on plastic trays were passed from passenger to passenger. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

To get some breathing space in the stuffy carriages, some stood on top of seats, surveying the scene below. But few complained. Beijing authorities don’t want migrant workers to reside here in a move being called economic upgrading. Authorities say the campaign to demolish sub-standard housing, is necessary to clean the city up once and for all. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

The mood in the dining car was sombre despite the cheerful red and gold decorations. Although making its periphery, migrants have kept China’s economy humming -- handling dreary, difficult and sometimes dangerous work that permanent residents shun. Industries like construction, domestic work and sanitation are almost completely staffed by migrants. Their exodus from Beijing has already slowed the city’s year-on-year growth. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

A waitress (C) tries to make her way through passengers on a crowded car. Passengers made 732 million trips from February 1 to February 10 for this year’s holiday travel period, down by 3% from last year. The transport ministry attributed the drop to university students and migrant workers who returned home during the November and December evictions. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

Unsure of whether they’d be returning to Beijing when the 15-day festival is over, people passed time playing on smartphones, sharing food and chatting with fellow passengers. Even the children mostly stayed quiet. The brutal efficiency of the demolitions and mass evictions over the past year has provoked an unusual public outcry that has officials on edge and residents uncertain. (Fred Dufour / AFP)

About The Gallery

Millions of Chinese are on the move ahead of the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar. Ahead of the February 16 celebrations migrants heading to provincial homes from Beijing are uncertain of returning to a city that does not seem to want them in light of demolition and eviction drives.

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