Golden Week (China)
- The "Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week" (Chinese New Year) begins in January or February.
- The "National Day Golden Week" begins around October 1st.
A third Golden Week holiday, which spanned May 1 and celebrated Labour Day, existed until 2007.
Three days of paid holiday are given, and the surrounding weekends are re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies always have seven continuous days of holiday. These national holidays were first started by the government for the PRC's National Day in 1999 and are primarily intended to help expand the domestic tourism market and improve the national standard of living, as well as allowing people to make long-distance family visits. The Golden Weeks are consequently periods of greatly heightened travel activity.
An estimated 28 million Chinese traveled during the first National Day Golden Week in 1999. In 2007, this number had increased to over 120 million.
In 2012, the PRC government announced that national highways would be toll free for Golden Week, and as a result 86 million people travelled by road (13% increase compared to the previous year). The same year, the Forbidden City in Beijing had a new record of 182,000 visitors within one day on October 2, the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen had 215,000 visitors on October 4 (10 times the number of visitors on a normal busy day), 7.6 million people travelled via domestic airlines, 60.9 million people travelled via railway, and revenues from tourism totalled at 1.77 billion renminbi.
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In 2004, there were calls for the Golden Week holidays to be cut back, due to their disruption of the regular economy.
In 2006, delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference brought up proposals to cancel both the National Day and May Day Golden Weeks, arguing that the holidays have not achieved significant results in promoting internal consumption, which was the original intention for these long holiday weeks. Rather, the delegates said, these Golden Weeks have disrupted people's regular 5-day weekly schedule and is increasingly impeding commerce and international trade, as many key government agencies, especially those related to customs, tax/tariff collection, and legal affairs, are shut down for seven days. Instead, they proposed, these days off should be spread out to other traditional holidays not currently recognized as public holidays, including Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Qingming Festival. Golden Weeks were sustained as weekly holidays through 2007.
An article in the International Herald Tribune stated that the committee that is reviewing the new plan posted it for public comment in November 2007, with the intention of implementing it in early 2008. According to this article, the May Day holiday will be reduced to one day, with new one-day holidays for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Qingming Festival. The Spring Festival and National Day would remain three-day holidays, though they would be adjusted to prevent them from becoming seven consecutive days, as is the current practice.
On December 16, 2007, China’s official news agency said the Chinese population is to have a further three national holidays and lose only one of its golden weeks, the May Day holiday, according to the calendar reform that the Government has approved. May Day itself has now become a one-day holiday. Three traditional festivals—Tomb-Sweeping Day (Qingming Festival), Dragon-boat Festival and Mid Autumn Festival—are added to the list of public holidays. With this revision of the labour calendar, the Chinese government aims to recover the customs associated with traditional festivals and balance tourist demand during the weeks of holidays, according to the Xinhua News Agency. In practice, the new calendar, which came into force on January 1, 2008, will increase national holidays from 10 to 11 days. A spokesperson for the National Commission for Development and Reform said that the new plan would ratify Chinese traditions, better distribute holidays and prevent the “overcrowding” of the “golden weeks” when more people travel during the new holidays and during the periods of paid holidays.
Notes and references
- Liu Zhijie (October 16, 2006). "从数字之外看黄金周的去与留" [Keeping or Ridding of It -- Looking at Golden Weeks beyond the Numbers]. CCTV.com (in Chinese). Retrieved December 16, 2006.
- McCabe, Ailene (October 1, 2007). "120 million Chinese celebrate Golden Week". Canada.com (Postmedia Network). CanWest News Service. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Joe Weisenthal, 2012-09-30, It's 'Golden Week' In China, And The Traffic Jams Are Like Nothing You've Ever Seen, Business Insider
- Zoe Li, 2012-10-08, 34 million visitors and other China Golden Week records, CNN Go
- Liu Wei (December 6, 2006). "政协委员建议取消黄金周 提交报告供旅游局参考" [Delegates to CPPCC Proposing to Cancel Golden Weeks]. CCTV.com (in Chinese). Beijing Times. Retrieved December 12, 2006.
- Bradsherin, Keith (November 9, 2007). "China changes public holiday schedule". International Herald Tribune (New York Times). Retrieved November 25, 2011.
- ""Golden Week" holidays loses favour: survey". China Daily. Xinhua. 21 October 2004.
- Sun Yunlong (30 December 2007). "Xinhua top 10 domestic news events in 2007". China View. Xinhua.