China's 2014 holiday schedule sparks mixed reaction

China's 2014 holiday schedule sparks mixed reaction

CHINA - The national body responsible for deciding China's holiday dates has released the national holiday schedule for 2014, provoking mixed reactions from the public.

The schedule, issued by the General Office of the State Council on Wednesday, links official holiday periods with weekends, thus extending the number of consecutive days workers can take off.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day, Labor Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival will become three-day holidays. However, New Year will be celebrated as a one-day holiday.

Excluding the attached weekends, there will be 11 official days of holiday through 2014, a figure similar to previous years.

"I was hoping the total number of national holidays would increase. It is really disappointing that it didn't go up at all," said Cheng Jia, 30, from Beijing.

Another Beijing resident, Wei Bo, 59, said: "I do not see much difference between the schedule for 2014 and previous years, except for the arrangement for Spring Festival holidays. According to the new schedule, we will still have to work on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve - the time we are supposed to have our family reunion. This is so inhumane."

Also on Wednesday, the State Council released amendments to the National Annual Leave and Memorial Days regulation dealing with national holidays. Enacted in 1949 and amended several times, it stipulates the specific days and lengths of national holidays.

This year's amendment changed the Spring Festival to the first three days of the first lunar month of each year. According to a previous amendment to the regulation made in 2008, the three-day Spring Festival started on the last day of the lunar year.

Cai Jiming, director of the Center for Political Economy at Tsinghua University, who leads a team researching holiday system reform, was also involved in the 2008 amendment.

He said the change will bring inconvenience to people who are asked by employers to work till the last minute.

His team had proposed to expand the Spring Festival from three days to four days, but the proposal was not adopted by the government.

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