According to a news report from People’s Daily’s overseas edition re-posted on People’s Daily Online, China’s Ministry of Railways announced on January 17 that the problem of “hard-to-get tickets” (一票难求) will be solved by 2015. The 40 days between January 19 and February 27 this year are expected to be the nation’s busiest, with millions of Chinese trying to make it home for the holidays then returning. Tickets are notoriously difficult to buy during this time. But the People’s Daily Online report took on a subtle tone of criticism, and humor, as news editors posted it at a number of major websites in China, adding screenshots of identical claims from the Ministry of Railways in past years. Back in 2007, for example, the Ministry of Railways said the problem of hard-to-get tickets would be “substantially solved” by 2010. This is the link for the original People’s Daily Online post, and you can see here what QQ did by clicking here. In this cartoon, posted by artist Xu Jun (徐骏) to his blog at popular Chinese Internet site, a Ministry of Railways officials crosses out the year 2012 with a red brush on a sign that reads “Hard-to-buy train tickets, problem to be solved by.” He paints a new year, 2015, and as he walks away thinks to himself, “I’d better hold on to this brush.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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