News / Asia

    China Starts Lunar New Year of the Dragon

    A man holds a dragon balloon outside Longhua Buddhist Temple on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Shanghai, January 23, 2012.
    A man holds a dragon balloon outside Longhua Buddhist Temple on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Shanghai, January 23, 2012.

    This week millions of Chinese travel back to their family homes to celebrate the New Year holiday.  Although the time is traditionally celebrated as a time of happy homecomings, an official survey indicates most people are reluctant to go home.

    Social workers coordinated by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs queried migrant workers in China's six biggest cities and found that 70 percent are hesitant to go home.

    The issue is hotly debated online, where the week preceding Chunjie, as the New Year holiday is called, the term "afraid to go home" ranked third on the popular search engine baidu.com.

    Part of the apprehension is about the journey, itself. Transportation authorities anticipate that more than three billion trips will be made during this year's holiday.

    Internet user Lori Geixia posted a chronicle of her long journey home by train, bus and ferry. "The journey back is absolutely terrible for me," she wrote on her microblog account.  But many young people also fear facing their families' judgment.

    Newspapers have detailed the list of questions that young migrants would rather not be asked by relatives during their holiday break.  Among them are inquires about one's romantic and financial situation.

    A cartoon widely circulated online this week shows a gloomy looking man, sitting on a bench in front of a train station. Bubbles over his head describe the source of his anxiety: unsatisfactory job and low salary, unmarried status and limited money to buy gifts for relatives.

    Internet user Misitelu posted a message on his microblog profile as he was waiting for the train back home. "My mood is colorless/dull right now," he wrote. "Because I am part of the group that is afraid to go home, I have all sorts of fears. I have been in Beijing for three years now and I don't have anything."

    Although China's booming economy has enriched millions, many young Chinese graduates, mostly single children and often the first in their families to have finished high school, still struggle to live up to their parents' rising expectations.

    An Internet user from Sichuan province complains against the rising burden of the hongbao, the traditional red envelopes filled with money that people hand out to relatives during the holidays. "From 20 Yuan, to 50, then to 200, 400, 500," he says, "at the same time my income is falling. I cannot afford this!"

    Beijing University sociologist Zhou Xiaozheng argues against the traditional New Year emphasis on wealth and achievements in an widely cited article on the popular site Sohu.com.

    "Instead of concentrating on the level of riches one has," he writes, "people should focus on the sense of happiness they get from celebrating chunjie as it should, with one's family," Zhou stated.

    Chunjie is undoubtedly the country's most family-oriented holiday.  Chinese traditional culture emphasizes that people maintain strong ties with their birthplace. Many folk songs recount the joys of homecoming, and the nostalgia for those who in such occasion cannot reunite with their family.

    Despite the discussion about homecoming anxiety in the days before the New Year holiday, one day into the festivities, posts on Chinese Internet forums have changed in tone.  In online forums, most Internet users are sending their wishes for a happy year of the dragon.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora