Chunyun, the Chinese spring travel season, begins weeks prior to the Chinese New Year, and lasts for about a month. The number of annual trips equals the combined population of the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. (Gong hey fat choi!) (CNN)
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.
- According to Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo, the annual Chunyun-period movement is “not just the world’s biggest human migration, it’s the biggest mammalian migration.” What are some other mammalian migrations? (There are a lot!)
- The wildebeest migration through Tanzania and Kenya is probably the most famous migration of mammals. Learn a little about the dangers of the annual migration in our video.
- Some zebras migrate even further than their wildebeest neighbors, across Namibia and Botswana. Read about that new discovery here.
- Humpback whales probably have the longest migration of any mammal, swimming from the waters around the Antarctic Peninsula all the way to tropical waters off Costa Rica. Read more about their “Incredible Journey” here.
- Reindeer migrate across northern Scandinavia. Take a look at their routes on this map.
- Mexican free-tailed bats migrate from the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. to southern Mexico. Read more about these amazing animals here.
- Take a look at the Baidu map and the super-short CNN article. Why do you think most Chunyun-period traffic is from big cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, to rural western provinces?
- Big cities attract large populations of migrant workers, and most people are going home for the holidays. One Chinese-American describes Chunyun: “It literally means ‘Spring Run,’ like salmon going upstream.”
- How does the Baidu map work? What methods of transportation does it track?
- The Baidu map is based on use of its mobile app for smartphones and tablets. (Baidu is sometimes nicknamed the “Chinese Google”.) For instance, “If someone uses a Baidu app in Beijing in the morning, then pings from the southwestern city of Kunming in the evening, a new trip will be registered and a straight line added from Beijing to Kunming.”
- The Baidu map also includes information on busy airports and train stations.
- Can you think of a way the Baidu map is limited in its description of Chunyun-period travel?
- Not everyone who travels has the Baidu app, so the map doesn’t track all movement. (The app has about 350 million users, but even that is just a fraction of China’s population of 1.4 billion people.)
- Not everyone who travels during the 40-day Chunyun period is traveling home. Many urban professionals are traveling for work.
- How do you think such a dramatic human migration can impact travel?
- Take a look at some of these photos recommending when not to travel to China! Sure, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but, “from the coast of the Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific” (look it up!): foot traffic, bus traffic, car traffic, airport traffic, train traffic.
- Can you think of a U.S. holiday that might produce a travel map similar to the Baidu doozy?
Nat Geo: Peoples of China map
Baidu: Migration interactive map