By Carlos Barria
There was not much emotion left after crossing central China on a 50-hour train and bus journey. Just a soft touch on the face and a forced hug was all that Li Jiangzhon and his sister Li Jiangchun got from their parents after a long year of absence.
They are just one story among millions of Chinese migrant workers, who have to leave their loved ones behind to look for a better future for themselves and their families.
Every year millions of migrant workers travel to their hometowns during the Chinese Spring Festival, a massive movement of people that is considered the biggest migration in the world in such a short period of time. Public transportation authorities expected to accommodate about 3.41 billion travelers nationwide during the holiday, including 225 million railway passengers, according to Xinhua news agency.
The 2013 Spring Festival will begin on February 10th, marking the start of the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac.
Li Anhua and Shi Huaju met twelve years ago, after they migrated to Shanghai and took their place among the millions of Chinese migrant workers that play a key role in today’s second largest economy. After working for a few months in a restaurant they decided to work together as street food vendors in the suburbs of Shanghai. Every day they push a wooden cart with two wheels to street corners where students from a local university buy their food.