Across China: Their Spring Festival away from home

Updated 2017-01-28 10:45:12 Xinhua

As the Year of Rooster approaches, Chinese families will get together to celebrate, but some people will not spend the holidays at home.

This does not, however, make the holiday any less important.

ON THE WAY

Song Wenyuan, 52, checked his train ticket for the umpteenth time. His journey back home would take more than 20 hours, and he did not want to loose the ticket.

The coal miner works in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

"I take the train from Ningxia to Hebei, then another to Shandong, then I take a coach," he said.

The mine gives its workers 600 yuan (about 87 U.S. dollars) to cover transportation, but Song wanted to save as much of his bonuses as possible. "A berth is 88 yuan more than a seat," he explained. "I'd rather save the money for food and liquor. I work underground, so I need liquor to keep myself warm."

Zhao Xinguang moved to Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, in 2016 to sell fruit. "It is back-breaking work and I don't earn much," he told Xinhua. "But I have now seen more of the country and gained experience."

"Spring Festival marks an end to the previous year," he said. "Good or bad, I will work hard next year. For now, I just want to see my family."

AT WORK

Huang Weirui will spend his third Spring Festival at the tiny Qinghai Lake station. His only companions during the holiday are a bed, the signal control equipment and a plant.

"Since June, passenger trains no longer stop here," he said. The change made him more lonely.

Due to safety legislation, Huang is not allowed to use his cellphone at work. He stares at the signal box, while wind howled outside.

After lunch, Huang decided to make some dumplings. "Even if I am alone, I should abide by the tradition," he said. "My elder son has graduated from university, and the younger one is still at school. Thinking about them, I feel less lonely."

In east China, Luo Yuanyuan is patrolling the Bohai Sea in a police vessel. Like Huang, he has spent three Spring Festivals away from home.

"I miss my parents, but this is my job," he said. Last year, he was stationed on the ship for more than 200 days.

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