Picture of the Day: A Teary Farewell at a Beijing Train Station

For some migrants leaving the big city for Chinese New Year, this might be a final goodbye.

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Reuters

A woman wipes her tears on her boyfriend's scarf at Beijing West Railway Station as she is about to embark on a journey back to her hometown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Some 200 million migrants crowd China's railways for as long as three days to celebrate the holiday, known as "The Spring Festival," with their families.

For the many Beijing migrant laborers who don't have a weekend and only take off one day per month, the Spring Festival represents their one yearly opportunity to see their families in faraway provinces.

Although the people pictured above don't look much like Chinese migrant laborers, for some couples this departure could mean a final farewell. Last year, industry-rich Guangdong province, largely dependent on labor from inner-Chinese villages -- often in Sichuan province -- saw a shortage of around one million workers after the New Year, according to this package from China Daily. Many migrants decided not to return to big cities to toil in what can be very difficult conditions. Migrants need three forms of identification to find employment in the cities legally, although this is often not the case. They are often ineligible for local educational or health facilities in their host cities, and many end up living in precarious, crowded shantytowns.

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Massoud Hayoun is a digital-news producer for Al Jazeera America.

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