Chinese Cities Become Virtual Ghost Towns During CNY

By Bridget O'Donnell, February 14, 2016

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During Spring Festival, major first and second-tier cities across China became virtual ghost towns as millions traveled to their hometowns to celebrate Chinese New Year with families and friends. Shanghai in particular was extremely quiet over the holiday, as a crackdown on fireworks (complete with orange-vested volunteers, the threat of hefty fines and propaganda signs condemning firecrackers) left the entire downtown area devoid of loud celebrations.

It is estimated that at least 2.5 billion trips were made this year over the 40-day chunyun travel period. Each year, China sets travel records during Spring Festival, which is considered the world's largest annual human migration.

Here are some rather eerie photos of China's largest cities, which appear to be nearly empty over the holiday. 

Shanghai

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Shanghai Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Guangzhou

Beijing Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

Guangzhou Becomes Virtual Ghost Town During Chinese New Year

According to China Daily, these ten cities were considered the "Top 10 Ghost Towns" during the 2016 Spring Festival, based percentages of the population leaving the city:

1. Beijing
2. Shenzhen
3. Shanghai
4. Guangzhou
5. Suzhou
6. Dongguan
7. Hangzhou
8. Chengdu
9. Foshan
10. Nanjing

[Images via iFengiHeima, QQ, CE.cn, Bendibao, Xilu, Netease]

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