China’s cities see mass exodus for New Year

Chinese New Year

Beijing’s population of roughly 22 million is now significantly smaller, as millions of migrant workers head home for the Spring Festival. While many businesses and shops have shut for the next few weeks, many residents are enjoying the emptiness of the usually bustling Chinese capital. CCTV’s Grace Brown reported this story from the bare streets of Beijing.

China's cities see mass exodus for New Year

China's cities see mass exodus for New Year

Beijing's population of roughly 22 million is now significantly smaller, as millions of migrant workers head home for the Spring Festival. While many businesses and shops have shut for the next few weeks, many residents are enjoying the emptiness of the usually bustling Chinese capital. CCTV's Grace Brown reported this story from the bare streets of Beijing.

Roads without traffic. Air with only moderate pollution, This is Beijing after millions of people leave. For residents, it’s a breath of fresh air.

“Many people have left for the festival, so Beijing is more comfortable now… I’m going to spend time with my grandson and family,” one man said who did not give his name.

Spring Festival is China’s most important holiday – a time for family reunions and equivalent to Christmas, in the West. About a third of Beijing’s population are migrant workers. Many have now left the city and won’t be back, until later this month.

The world’s biggest human migration is now underway as millions of Chinese return home for the lunar new year. And its in major cities like Beijing where the impact of this can truly be seen.

Many shops, restaurants and businesses are now closed as making money takes a back-seat in China, for at least the next week.

For some this is a slight inconvenience.

“A lot of shops close. The supermarket stays open, but the morning markets will close through the holiday, so I’m buying all my groceries now,” one woman said who did not give a name.

While Beijing looks peaceful today with empty streets and red lanterns — it won’t stay that way for long as New Year firecrackers will soon burst across the city.