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Last updated at 13:26 BST, Tuesday, 09 October 2012

Holiday congestion in China


9 October 2012

Millions of people in China are returning to work after a rare, eight-day public holiday, a traditional time for spending money and spending time away from home. The holiday has been particularly notable for the scenes of congestion on the roads and at major tourist sites.


Viv Marsh

"The great queue of China"

Visitors queueing on the Great Wall of China


Click to hear the report


They called it the "great queue of China", and it went viral on the internet. It was a photo showing a visitor on the Great Wall near Beijing last week, with the famous structure snaking to the horizon behind him completely hidden by a mass of other tourists. The vast imperial palace, the Forbidden City, at one point welcomed more than a hundred-and-eighty-thousand visitors in a single day.

In the desert at Dunhuang, at least two camels transporting tourists reportedly died from overwork. And Chinese media said road traffic was up by thirteen per cent on last year, causing unprecedented jams. Many people in China don't take their leave entitlement because regulations aren't properly enforced: they save their travelling for the two big annual public holidays - the other is at Chinese New Year. Then, it seems as if the whole country has shut down and everyone is on the road or on the train.

There've been renewed appeals for a third public holiday, in May, to be lengthened to spread the strain. And a commentary by Xinhua news agency went further, calling for a proper system of paid leave. It said that as Chinese people's living standards improved, public holidays were no longer enough to fulfil their needs.


Click to hear the vocabulary


went viral

spread quickly


twisting around


great, big


exhaustion (from working too much)


that has never happened before


something you have a right to have or do



shut down

stopped working





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