Chinese urged to shoot for the moon as Lunar New Year feast looms

About 230 million people - more than the entire population of Brazil - will take part in the world's biggest annual human migration in the next few days as Chinese take to the roads, boats, planes and trains to join family for the traditional Lunar New Year "reunion meal" to welcome in the year of the Rabbit.

The actual Lunar New Year falls on Thursday and, for many Chinese, it represents their only chance to visit home all year, as the booming economy has led so many to move from the villages and small towns they grew up in.

In a speech to mark the celebration, president Hu Jintao said yesterday China must put more emphasis on raising living standards along with economic development. He said non-Communist Party and social groups should help the government transform the economy during the country's next five-year plan.

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"We must rely on all Chinese people, including non-Communist parties, societies, ethnic groups and people from all walks of life to achieve this year's goals for economic and social development," Mr Hu said.