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Chinese head for home in disaster-shadowed festival

(Xinhua)

11:18, September 12, 2011

A staff worker shows newly-cooked moon cakes during a Mid-autumn festival celebration activity held in Tianjin, north China, Sept. 11, 2011. Some 100 children from Tianjin and southeast China's Taiwan attended the activity on Sunday. (Xinhua/Liu Dongyue)

BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Despite a series of disasters, Chinese people tend to believe that the moon is still round and bright in the Mid-autumn Festival.

Falling on Monday, the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, it is an important Chinese holiday, next only to the Spring Festival, and a chance for family reunion under the full moon, a symbol for happiness and prosperity.

FAMILY REUNION

In the railway station of Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, passengers lined in long queues while waiting for their trains on Saturday.

Although the three-day holiday seemed too short for a long trip, Xiao Liang carried several bags with him. "I bought wine for my dad, boiled salted duck for my mom, and health products for my grand parents," the young man beamed.

In the southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Li Yukun didn't believe that she could reunite with her son for holiday. In fact, she never thought she could see the three-year-old boy again.

Two years ago, Xiao Wei (pseudonym) from the Dalun village of the Beiliu city was kidnapped. His parents were desperate. "On special occasions like the Mid-autumn Festival, we shed tears while missing him," Li said.

Police finally managed to get clues that a similar boy was adopted in the neighboring Guangdong Province.

Li prepared for a feast with policemen to celebrate reunion with Xiao Wei.

Since a campaign was launched to rescue trafficked children in Guangxi in 2009, 339 children were saved, half of whom had been sent back and could reunite with their parents in this festival.

In Sichuan, 10 prisoners with good records in jail were given an opportunity to go back home for the holiday.

"In the past I could only receive greetings from my relatives behind the bars," a woman surnamed Chen said. "This year, my dream for home finally came true."

Meanwhile, 171 prisoners had their jail terms shortened so that they could be released before the Mid-autumn Festival.

TWO PLACES, ONE MOON

However, not everybody could return their home for the festival.

A survey by China's portal website of Sohu showed that 40 percent of the respondents wouldn't celebrate the holiday at hometown.

Tsega Tashi, A Tibetan student who is studying in the engineering vocational school of Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu Province, received two boxes of mooncakes from his teacher.

At a festival party in the school Saturday, he and other Tibetan students presented Hada (a greeting gift made of silk) to their teachers. "They took care of us like parents," Tashi said.

In two years, the school has received 131 Tibetan students.

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