LANZHOU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Having been living in China for over 10 years, Muhammad Faisal, a Pakistani, experienced the Spring Festival travel rush in quite a special way.
Wearing a railway uniform and holding a detector, Faisal conducted safety checks for travelers entering Tianshui South Railway Station. Some travelers looked at him in surprise when realizing that he was a foreigner, and he responded with a warm greeting in fluent Chinese.
"I feel lucky to participate in China's 'chunyun' in this way," he said. He works as a railway staff member -- doing safety checks, answering inquiries and organizing boarding and disembarking.
The 29-year-old comes from Islamabad, Pakistan. In 2012, he came to China to go to university. After graduation, he found a job in Tianshui City in northwest China's Gansu Province and decided to live there. He likes shooting short videos about his daily life in China and has gained many fans on his social media account.
As a fan of China's high-speed railway, he has traveled to many Chinese cities by high-speed railway. "I've been to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and some other cities. High-speed railway trains are fast and steady. The railway stations are very modern," he said.
Although he has spent a long time in China, Faisal previously barely had the chance to fully experience "chunyun." He described chunyun as "vigorous" and "well-organized."
The Spring Festival travel rush, also known as "chunyun," began on Jan. 7 and will last until Feb. 15 this year, during which many Chinese people will travel to reunite with their families for the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 22, 2023.
According to an official media conference, the number of passenger trips during this year's Spring Festival travel rush is expected to surge by 99.5 percent compared with the same period last year -- to reach nearly 2.1 billion.
Wang Qiang, deputy director with the passenger transport department of the China Railway Lanzhou Group Co., Ltd., said that a total of 11 measures aimed at ensuring efficient services were implemented during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, including environmental adaptation for the elderly, online catering booking, and a code scanning service providing more transport information.
Seeing people carrying bags and traveling to their homes, Faisal could not help thinking of his family. "I also miss my parents. Whenever I feel homesick, I treat myself with decent Pakistani food," he said, adding that he always purchases rice, spices and teas imported from his hometown.
The Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have brought benefits to people like Faisal. Now, it is easy for him to buy products from all over the world.
In 2018, a rail and road cargo service opened between Lanzhou, capital of Gansu, and Islamabad in Pakistan, which was the second freight train service launched by Gansu to South Asia.
At the Tianshui South Railway Station, a convenience store displays various imported goods from countries such as Russia, Vietnam, Belgium, and Pakistan. "Many travelers buy imported products here and take them home as gifts for their families," said Zhang Ying, a salesperson. ■