Migrant Workers In Tears, Happy to Go Home for Chinese New Year

A Chinese migrant worker with tears in his eyes.

A Chinese migrant worker in tears overcome with emotion at the prospect of being able to go home for Chinese New Years.

The following video was featured on popular Chinese video sharing website Youku’s home page, having accumulated over 560k views after just 7 hours of being uploaded, featuring several migrant workers overcome with emotion at the prospect of returning home to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families…

From Youku:

Migrant workers overcome with emotion and shedding tears after getting their train tickets, happily going home to celebrate the new year!

Several migrant workers are interviewed in the 5 minute long video. Several migrant workers express happiness and are thankful that they received their wages in time for the Chinese New Year, perhaps allowing them to go home to celebrate with their families. Some thank their employers for paying on time, the government, and the media for helping bring public attention to their lives and hardships.

The second pair of migrant workers talk about their train trip, that it will take 2 days and 1 night in order to get home, requiring a one day stopover as well, and their train tickets are for standing room only, without seats for the entire ride. When asked by the interviewer how they can endure not having seats, they explain that they are in a rush to get home and there were out of options. It was only until they got their wages that they were able to go home at all.

They also share about who they are looking forward to see at home, such as their wives, children, and parents. When asked what he wants to say to his family at home on camera, the crying migrant worker says he’s bringing home the money he’s earned through blood and sweat, that he’s about to come home, and they can be reunited.

A Chinese migrant worker in tears overcome with emotion at the prospect of being able to go home for Chinese New Years.

At time of translation, there were over 5000 comments by Chinese netizens in reaction to this video. Many of the comments reveal not only the attitudes of many Chinese people towards migrant workers, the government, and Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year) but also various phenomenon common to the Chinese internet and the internet as a whole…

Comments from Youku:


Train tickets are indeed really hard to purchase. When booking ticket, I called for half an hour and nearly a thousand calls before I booked them, and they’re not even to my hometown. Sigh.

lvzifeng765: (responding to above)

Amazing, over a thousand, half an hour, what planet is your home on?


Everyone is equal… so where is the equality? Sigh… hope everyone can pay more attention to these people on the bottom levels of society and not discriminate against them nor treat them with indifference!


This year, I’m again unable to go home to celebrate the [Chinese] new year. It’s been 3 years now that I haven’t been able to go home for new years…


I wish the best for those who go out to make a living, may you guys be safe and healthy!


Fuck, even thanking the government [referring to the first interviewed migrant worker].


This is what China’s most simple, down-to-earth ordinary common people are like, so easily satisfied [happy to just be able to go home for new year’s].


Money, is the life’s hope of migrant workers. We can’t say money is vulgar. It is hope. It is a necessity for the growth of the next generation.


I wish migrant workers the best. Those of you who were fighting for the sofa [there were a number of early comments simply posting “沙发”, “SF”, etc.], was it that hard to add a bit more wishing them well…?


[I’m a] manly Shandong man, I’m not going to cry.


The so-called government leadership all say they want to care for workers of society’s lowest level, but it’s all just pretense. At least I haven’t felt it.


China, if there weren’t migrant workers, then all of society would come to a standstill. You guys are the best.


May every one of them have a safe trip home…


In the Heavenly Kingdom, going home for [Chinese] New Year’s has become a kind of extravagant wish.


Simple and honest migrant workers, those wages are what you guys should get and you not getting them would be a failure of the government. You guys getting your wages should not be thanking the government, and instead you should thank those back home.


Thank you all for your contributions to the country. My brothers and sisters, it is your guys who are the main reason for the past 30 years of this country’s fast growth.


Online ticket booking was truly such a ball ache for those men who work on construction sites and don’t go online.

[Online train ticket booking was made available this year, but while it helped many, many migrant workers could not take advantage of it because they do not typically own computers or use the internet.


I’m also a migrant worker. Those of us who come out to work basically only go home once a year. In the cities, the reason we scrimp and save is specifically so our family members in the rural countryside can live better, so I’m really moved. Migrant workers like us have very hard lives, truly using our own tears and sweat to make money, so I guess we can only wish ourselves luck.

19帝少: (responding to above)

It’s so nice that I’m not a migrant worker, everyday eating my mother’s food.


Heart breaking. You guys saying thanks to the government, sigh, the government is laughing.


This is the tragedy of the government, where something as small as simply getting a train ticket can make them feel so blessed. China’s ordinary common people are too kind.


There are actually people downvoting this video??? [At time of translation, this video had over 18k upvotes and over 300 downvotes]


Every year there is Chun Yun [the annual rush of Chinese people to return home to celebrate Chinese New Year’s, often called the world’s largest annual human migration], every year there are people who aren’t able to go home, every year there is constant news about these things, is [the government, the country] really unable to come up with effective measures to solve this problem? We are all taxpayers, so just what exactly has all our taxes been used on????


This world is so sad, those who can’t get train tickets want so much to go home, whereas I who can get train tickets don’t even want to go home.


I don’t know why it was so irritating to hear that uncle say “thanks to the government”.


Back in the day, my parents took the train to go home for the new year. Mom said that from Harbin to Fuyang, it wasn’t until Tianjin before there was a seat, and at that time my mother was pregnant with me too. My dad stood from Harbin all the way to Fuyang. Going home was really very tough.


Don’t they know how to go book tickets? These people are so cheap, just drink one less drink of alcohol and smoke one less cigarette. If it were me, you could beat me to death and I still wouldn’t take the train during the Spring Festival [Chinese New Year] season, or at least it’d have to be one of the faster trains.

zwx199: (responding to above)

f you

霓宏灯: (responding to Etudos)

That’s because you have money, rich guy!! Have you thought about those people who have to work hard every day to make money? If there are cheaper trains, do you think they would spend their hard-earned blood and sweat money [on more expensive trains]?


Always talking about migrant workers, don’t people know the income of migrant workers is higher than university graduates?

五百万得主: (responding to above)

How much more hardship do migrant workers suffer compared to university graduates? However much more they earn is still deserved. What kind of work do university graduates do? What kind of work do migrant workers do?

绿宝石小明 (responding to goarago)

The work they do, do university graduates do? There are university graduates like you who do, so why don’t you go do it?


The 10 people who downvoted [the video] are beasts, may you be worse than pigs and dogs in your next life.

178297563: (responding to above)

Maybe those who downvoted were all downvoting the Railway Ministry.

[China’s Ministry of Railways is widely reviled for all manner of ills. In addition to causing headaches and frustration for Chinese travelers during Chun Yun each year due to the difficulty of getting train tickets, often exacerbated by scalpers and corruption, the Railway Ministry has also recently been in headlines for horrific train crashes like 2011 July’s Wenzhou train accident.]


Fuck, having to say thanks even for getting the money one is owed…


Satisfying them is that easy… For us, it would just be getting something that is ours. I hate those unscrupulous evil businessmen/companies [who withhold wages from their migrant worker employees].


Those who cheat migrant workers of their money these days, most of them are the contractors. These contractors are the real ones who are inhuman.


Look at those country people, all bumpkins, sigh.


The more I watch, the more I despise them. Country people, still wearing clothes from the 1980s, is it because they can’t afford new clothes?

梦幻大魔王: (responding to above)

It’s you again, you stupid cunt. You’re fucking about to be human flesh searched. Sooner or later you won’t even know how you died.

@水水900: (responding to above)

May those who look down on migrant workers die a violent death on the street on [Chinese] New Year’s Eve…

Your thoughts?

A group of Chinese migrant workers who have gotten their train tickets and are on their way home to celebrate Chinese New Years with their families.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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