Captured in the 2009 documentary The Last Train Home by Lixin Fan:
Ever year tens of millions of migrant workers go home to see their families for the New Year holidays. For most, the cheapest and the fastest route home is by train, but the impossible crowds strain the system past the breaking point. Police use bullhorns, batons, verbal abuse—whatever means necessary—to keep the vast mob under control. Many migrants camp at the railway station for weeks, waiting to by tickets. Others give up in despair, crippled by exhuastion. Those who get a ticket often have to climb through a window to get on the train, for a ride that can last up to three days but seems much longer. Many have to stand day and night, for lack of space on the floor to sit. Some wear diapers to avoid using the lavatory, and struggle to keep their sanity during the ride.
In 2009, an estimated 130 million people made the holiday journey—but each year the numbers were growing by double digits, like so much in China.
Taken from Ruchir Sharma’s Breakout Nations