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Over 70% Chinese Unhappy with Current Legal Holiday Schedule

Great Wall of China crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

Great Wall of China crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

From NetEase:

Survey: Over 70% of Netizens are not Satisfied with Current Holiday Arrangements

The Beijing News report — Yesterday, the National Holiday Office released a “Questionnaire Survey on the Arrangement of Legal Holidays” on Sina, People’s Daily Online, and other websites to collect feedback/suggestions from the public.

National Holiday Office hopes to make holiday schedule more reasonable

According to the 2007 “Arrangement of National Annual Holidays and Vacations”, our country had a total of 11 legal rest days for all citizens, and individually they were 1 day for New Year’s Day, 3 days for the Spring Festival, 1 day for Tomb-Sweeping Day, 1 day for the International Labor Day, 1 day for the Dragon Boat Festival, 1 day for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and 3 days for the National Day holiday. The current method of holiday shifting is to create two 7-day “long holidays” for the Spring Festival and the National Day holidays and five 3-day “mini-long holidays” for New Year’s Day, Tomb-Sweeping Day, International Labor Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, by means of moving weekends.

In the survey released yesterday [October 10th], 6 questions are involved, the main contents of which includes “Are you satisfied with the current holiday arrangements?”, “Should the long holidays be preserved?”, “Are weekend shifts necessary for the mini-long holidays?” etc. The National Holiday Office welcomed opinions from the broad masses of the people, so that the will of the public can be reflected and the arrangement of the holidays be more scientific and reasonable.

Cancel the Golden Week? Rivaling opinions on the issue

As of 10pm yesterday, the survey on Sina shows that over 40,000 people have taken part in the survey, with the majority being between 20 and 60 years old. Employees of private enterprises and employers make up the largest proportion, followed by people working in government organs.

As to the questions concerning holiday arrangements, over 70% of netizens are unsatisfied with the current holiday arrangements. Among those who are “unsatisfied”, some netizens hold the opinion that the long holidays should be more evenly arranged to avoid the large crowds of people seen during the Spring Festival and National Day holidays; while other netizens think it quite unnecessary and torturous to “scrape together” holidays through the “embezzling” of weekends.

As for “should the 7-day holidays be preserved”, the number of people supporting and opposing it are pretty close – 46% and 50% respectively. As for “do you think it necessary to transform 1-day festivals into 3-day vacations by moving weekends”, 42.4% of netizens think it’s necessary while 51.8% believe it to be unnecessary.

Beijing Tiananmen Square crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

Over time

From 1 day off per week to 115 days off per year

1949-1994

Only Sundays off every week

From 1949 to the beginning of the Reform and Opening Up, six-day weeks were practiced in China and Sunday was the only day to rest every week. The only legal holidays were public holidays such as New Year’s and Labor Day where 1 day was off, Spring Festival where there were 3 days off, National Day where there were 2 days off, etc.

1995-1999

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From alternate Sundays to 2-day weekends

1994 March 1, the “1+2” weekend policy was put into trial implementation, where there were 8 working hours a day and an average of 44 working hours a week, with 2 days off on long weekends and 1 day off on short weekends.

On May 1st 1995 the complete 2-day weekend policy was officially brought into force. People were granted more free time from studying and working.

1999-2007

Three Golden Weeks a year

In 1997, a financial crisis broke out in Southeast Asia. To stimulate consumption, jump start the domestic economy, and promote domestic tourism, in 1999, the State Council decided to merge the Spring Festival, “May 1st”, and “October 1st” holidays with the the 2-day weekends before and after them, and from that form 7-day long holidays. In 2000 June, the Golden Week system was officially instituted.

The “Golden Weeks” quickly boosted the development of the domestic tourism market and economy. Statistics show that during the first “October 1st” Golden Week, the number of travelers nationwide reached 28 million. During the National Day Golden Week of 2005, the total number of tourists received exceeded 100 million.

Gradually, due to the excessive concentration of holidays, this resulted in enormous numbers of travelers, traffic congestion, and increasing tourist safety risks during the Golden Weeks. Constantly, experts called for the cancellation of Golden Weeks.

In 2006, the Tsinghua University Holiday System Reform Group led by Cai Jiming believed it was time to retire the Golden Week system. During the Liang Hui “Two Meetings” [of the NPC (National People’s Congress) and CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference)], Cai Jiming proposed again that the “May 1st” and “October 1st” Golden Weeks be cancelled.

2008 to present

Traditional festivals and mini-long holidays added

2007 December, the State Council decided that from 2008 onward, the “May 1st” Golden Week would be cancelled and transformed into a 3-day short holiday, while the three traditional holidays Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival would be added. By combining them with the weekend, these three festivals became 3-day mini-long holidays. After this adjustment, the legal holidays and weekend rest days in our country reached 115.3 days.

However, after the implementation of mini-long holidays, it frequently occurred that 3 days of rest were followed by 7 or 8 continuous days of work with a month’s rest and work schedule having been dissected into a mess and such. This too triggered widespread discussions and the calls for canceling the mini-long holidays also gradually grew.

Beijing Tiananmen Square crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

Netizens say

Chaos and confusion of shifted weekends discount the quality of the vacation

“Sometimes we have to work for more than 5 days in a row in exchange for a mini-long holiday, and this kind of weekend shifting results in a ‘discount’ on the quality of the vacation.”

——Netizen“格桑花开”

“After the October 1st long holiday, my biological clock is really messed up.” Netizen “咸萝卜” [Xian Luo Bo, Salty Carrot] chose “unsatisfied” when answering the question “are you satisfied with the current holiday arrangements” on the questionnaire.

“咸萝卜” is a white-collar worker in a private company, and this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival and October 1st [National Day] “3 days of work, 3 days off, 6 days of work, 1 day off, 2 days of work, 7 days off” left him “completely lost”: “Why does it have to be shifted back and forth? Now us office workers have to check the calendar every day in order to know which days we have to go to work and which days we have off.” The October 1st “Golden Porridge” [“week” and “porridge” have the same pronunciation in Chinese, and “Golden Porridge” became an Chinese joke about the streams of tourists throughout the country during the 7-day holiday were as thick as porridge.]” too gave him much to complain about. “咸萝卜” says he and his family had gone to climb and watch the sunrise on Mount Tai in Shandong on October 2nd but upon seeing the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of people on the mountain path, “Xian Luo Bo” laughed: “What I climbed wasn’t Mount Tai, but a mountain of people.”

Chinese crowds during holiday
October 4th, a tourist makes a gesture for photos on Haohanpo [a slope in Mount Lu], the background filled with people. Photographed by Zhou Gangfeng, journalist of The Beijing News.

Netizen “格桑花开” [Ge Sang Hua Kai, Blossom of Gesang Flower] is yet another netizen unsatisfied with the current holidays. She says the main reason for her dissatisfaction is because although there are now more mini-long holidays, these mini-long holidays formed through the temporary shifting of weekends are more like extended weekends: “The price is that we sometimes have to work more than 5 days in a row in exchange for a mini-long holiday, and this kind of shifting results in a “discount” on the quality of the vacation.”

Many netizens hold the opinion that the current arrangement of holidays make long holidays even more concentrated, and thus the accompanying difficulties in traveling, buying tickets, finding lodgings, etc. become even more serious.

Experts say

The effect of canceling the mini-long holidays on the economy won’t be big

“Of the ways to alleviate this situation, one is to implement paid leave/vacations and another way out is to add Golden Weeks while “cancelling” the mini-long holidays.” – Liu Simin, Special Researcher for the Tourism Research Center, Academy of Social Sciences

Special Researcher of the Tourism Research Center Liu Simin indicates that recreational travel/tourism has now become an important part of people’s lives. Making such a survey on the third day after the long holiday is a good and proactive response of the National Holiday Office to public opinion, which is worthy of recognition, “but the lack of a ‘should more Golden Weeks be added’ on the questionnaire is a pity.”

In Liu’s opinion, what the Spring Festival [holiday] satisfies is the traditional spiritual/emotional need of the people for family reunion, while the Golden Weeks satisfy modern spiritual/emotional needs in the form of tourism and consumption, both of which are inelastic demands. With the people’s growing demand for tourism, the current bottleneck is in the lack of long holidays. Liu Simin says the huge demand for travel generated after the cancellation of the May 1st Golden Week can now only be released during the October 1st long holiday and mini-long holidays.

According to Liu Simin, one of the ways to alleviate this situation is to implement paid leave/vacations. Another way out is to add Golden Weeks while “cancelling” the mini-long holidays. “We can’t use the shifting of weekends to form mini-long holidays, because there is essentially no difference between the two and instead disrupts people’s rhythms/patterns.” Meanwhile, since there is no difference between the mini-long holidays and weekends, the effect of canceling the mini-long holidays on the economy won’t be too big.

Interviewed and written by Lu Man, journalist of The Beijing News

Survey results on Sina for: “Should the 7-day holidays be preserved?”

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Sina Chinese official holiday schedule online survey results.

Sina Chinese official holiday schedule online survey results.

Beijing Tiananmen Square crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

Comments from NetEase:

毛润之人民的大救星 [网易上海市网友]:

Survey: Those who support the reinstatement of the May 1 long holiday, click ding. [28k upvotes at time of translation]

lilianshun7591 [网易河北省唐山市网友]:

So-called holidays are merely vacations for government organs, army units, schools and state-owned enterprises, which basically have nothing to do with farmers, migrant workers, temporary workers and private enterprises.

网易江苏省南京市网友 ip:122.96.*.*

It’d be better to cancel some shorter long holidays and not resume the May 1st Golden Week [week-long holiday]. Implement a system of paid vacations at employers. Bringing things in line with international practice is the proper path.

Comments from Phoenix Online:

凤凰网新浪微博网友:笨笨鱼的小心情

The Spring Festival holiday should last till after the Lantern Festival, keep the May 1st and October 1st 7-day holidays, and then all the other short holidays don’t need to be preserved. Just guarantee the weekends. Spring Festival is [currently] only 7 days and just the time on the road alone takes up 2 days, so how many days are left to visit relatives and friends?

凤凰网新浪微博网友:G为为为为为

Prolong the Spring Festival holiday and resume the May 1st long holiday. 3-day shorter long holidays are meaningless: people who work away from home are totally unable to go back, [because] 2 days would simply be spent on the road.

凤凰网新浪微博网友:风中飞舞的屁

This is worthy of a questionnaire survey? On the premise of not moving weekends, preserve the current 3-day and 7-day holidays and just add more actual vacations in a year.

凤凰网新浪微博网友:chunonly

Extremely unsatisfied! The most incomprehensible holiday arrangement is to push and pull and put all the rest days together, making what is obviously just a vacation of three days seems like seven. Who are you trying to fool? What’s the point?

凤凰网浙江省舟山市网友:hyf_ssgs

[I] Really dislike the 3-day shorter long holidays. Suggestions: Lengthen the Spring Festival holiday to 10-12 days, preserve the October 1st 7-day vacation, and [set] a 1-day holiday for the other traditional festivals which we can decide ourselves when to take.

凤凰网新浪微博网友:沙沙沙沙沙妞妞

[I] Don’t agree with the shifting [of weekends]. Holidays are holidays, weekends should not be shifted around for work.

凤凰网新浪微博网友:sweetsweet猫

Just one suggestion: Extend the Chinese New Year vacation to the fifteenth of the first month of the lunar year [the Lantern Festival] ~

What do you think?

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Great Wall of China crowds during the 2013 October 1st National Day Golden Week holiday.

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