Naked frustration at China's train ticketing system

Travel | by Aimee Groom
Posted: January 25th, 2011 | Updated: January 26th, 2011 | Comments
naked frustration In an unusual protest against the frustrating train ticketing system that regularly leaves China's rail passengers stranded in the Spring Festival migration, one man has taken a stand. A naked stand. Despite having queued since 10:00 p.m. on January 18th and being third in line at the ticketing window when it opened at noon the next day, Chen Weiwei was told tickets to his hometown of Shangqiu in Henan province had already sold out. In a bizarre but very understandable fit of rage, the indignant Chen stripped off to his underwear, ran through the station, and, howling in protest that "the road home should not be this hard!" streaked his way to the Station Master's office. More revealed after the jump.... Early reports claimed his naked appeal did manage to snag him the elusive ticket home but (perhaps in fear of repeat performances across the country?) Chen Wanjun, spokesman with the Shanghai Railway Bureau claims in the China Daily that the report was not true and that tickets were sold out, with no possibility of helping him. With train tickets only available to purchase ten days before travel and both scalpers and corruption rife,  the annual 春运, Chun Yun or "Spring Festival Rush" leaves thousands stranded each year as people struggle to return to their families to celebrate the arrival of the new lunar year. And with tickets so scarce, queuing for days doesn't necessarily guarantee a ticket and even if you get a ticket, a ticket doesn't guarantee a seat--trains are often so packed that sitting, even on the floor, is nigh-on impossible. Tales of both trials and tribulations abound at this time of year, from Chongqing in an epic journey that covered 2000 kilometers in six days, cost her RMB250  in gas, half a bottle of water, a four-hour rest in a hotel and just nineteen pieces of bubblegum!
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