Mobilizing the Strength of the Nation and the Wisdom of the World to Make Expo 2010 Shanghai a Success

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 17:14
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    Interview with Yu Zhengsheng, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Committee and Chief of the Leadership Team in Charge of Preparations for Expo 2010 Shanghai China


    Expo 2010 Shanghai to be held in China will be a great international event hosted by the city of Shanghai under the direction of the central government. Qiushi Journal, an organ of the CPC Central Committee, held an exclusive interview with Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC, Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Committee and Chief of the Leadership Team in Charge of Preparations for Expo 2010 Shanghai. 

    Reporter: Expo 2010 Shanghai will be welcoming guests from China and all over the world next year. Could you give us a brief account of the progress made in preparations?

    Yu: Expo 2010 Shanghai will be a great international event hosted by the city of Shanghai under the direction of the central government. Thanks to the attention and care shown by the CPC Central Committee and the central government, the guidance provided by the Organizing Committee of Expo 2010 Shanghai and the support and direct participation on the part of all central government departments, provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government, as well as the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, we are making smooth and orderly progress in all areas of preparation for Expo 2010 Shanghai. 

    First of all, the number of participants will be very large. More than 230 countries and international organizations have now expressed their intention to take part in Expo 2010 Shanghai and about 200 of these have signed participation agreements. The members of this great community of participants in world expositions will be gathering together to chalk up a new record for the scale of participation. 

    Second, Expo Park is now taking shape. The basic structures of the main construction projects, which are the responsibility of the Expo organizers, i.e. the China Pavilion, the theme pavilions, Expo Center, the Performance Center, and Expo Axis, are now in place and all projects should be completed by the end of this year. Construction of most pavilions to be built by participating foreign countries, pavilions for rent and pavilions for joint use has begun and some have been completed. Construction of tunnels, roads, rail transit facilities and supplementary transportation projects, and work to improve the area around Expo Park are making good progress as well.

    Third, the concept of the exposition is gradually unfolding. The theme of the China Pavilion is “Quest of the Orient – Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development.” The Expo theme pavilions will be called “City Dwellers,” “City Life,” “Urban Planet,” “Future of the City” and “Urban Civilization” as a concrete reflection of the theme of Expo 2010 Shanghai. Fourth, recruitment of volunteers is well under way. A master plan has been formulated and the work of recruitment and training has begun.

    Fifth, ticketing work has begun. The basic ticket price will be RMB160, with preferential rates for students, the elderly and three other categories of visitors. Booking of tickets began on July 1 of this year.

    Sixth, steady progress is being made in marketing efforts. Agreements have been signed with 13 global partners, 10 senior sponsors, and 13 project sponsors. Licensed products designed around the concept of the emblem and the mascot of the Expo, called Haibao, have been well received by the public and are being promoted across the country through franchised shops and special department store counters.

    Seventh, preparations for forums and other activities are making smooth progress. The Expo will feature a summit forum, theme forums and public forums to provide platforms for extensive public participation. The setting up of public forums has already begun. It is estimated that there will be over 100 different cultural and performance activities on offer daily within Expo Park, with the combined total expected to exceed 20,000. More than a hundred countries and international organizations have submitted applications for activities, and all the Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government have submitted preliminary plans for their “Special Week” programs. Expo organizers are expecting the total number of activities to reach nearly 7,000.

    Eighth, promotional activities are off to a strong start. We have launched promotional activities in a dozen countries, including Britain, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Germany, France, Spain, Russia and the United States. A “Shanghai Expo Promotion Week” has been launched and an “Enter the Shanghai Expo” exhibition has been set up in nearly 20 Chinese provinces and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Chinese and foreign mainstream media are giving extensive coverage to progress in the preparations for Expo 2010 Shanghai, arousing growing interest and attention from the general public.

    July 5, 2009, children of the construction workers  of the Expo 2010 Shanghai visit the site at the beginning of the 300-day countdown to the Expo. /Photo from Xinhua

    Reporter: We know that the theme of Expo 2010 Shanghai is “Better City, Better Life” and that this will be the first time a world exposition focuses on city life. Could you please tell us a little about the practical significance of the urban theme of Expo 2010 with regard to urban develo pment and the progress of urbanization in China?

    Yu: Expo 2010 has chosen city life as its theme because more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and China is now in a historical stage of rapid urbanization. “Better City, Better Life” is a topic of interest to people around the world today, and is also very apropos given the rushing tide of urbanization sweeping across China. Expo 2010 Shanghai is going to focus on three issues in particular: (1) What kind of city will improve urban life and create greater harmony; (2) What kind of lifestyle will make the city a better place to live in; and (3) What urban development model will benefit the international community and create greater harmony.

    From my experience serving as a mayor and as Minister of Construction, I know that China has had many successes as well as made some missteps in the process of urbanization. The city life theme of Expo 2010 Shanghai was designed to direct the attention of city administrators and urban workers in China and abroad to the issue of urban development. It will draw upon the wisdom of the world and facilitate exchange on achievements and innovative concepts in the development, management and operation of cities across the world. One big innovation in Expo 2010 Shanghai will be the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) to present examples of superior urban development schemes selected by experts from around the world. The area will feature life-size models to give visitors a concrete idea of what better living in a better city would be like.

    Reporter: What is Shanghai doing to create a platform to mobilize a nationwide effort to help in hosting Expo 2010 Shanghai, thereby enlarging its impact?

    Yu: The 2010 world exposition is a national project and Shanghai is committed to hosting Expo 2010 Shanghai in an open manner. The city is working to build a platform to magnify the impact of the Expo through the cooperation of all the provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government plus Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. This will help to ensure a successful world exposition and allow the entire country to share in the development opportunities and results generated by the Expo. First of all, all the provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government plus Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will get the chance to participate in this major exhibition. More than 200 countries and international organizations will participate and some 70 million people are expected to attend. This will be a huge exhibition platform that will offer a unique opportunity for all participants to present themselves to the world. Each of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government will have an exhibition area of 600 square meters and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will each have their own pavilions. In addition, all of the provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government plus Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will put on special 5-day activity weeks within Expo Park during the Expo to show off their social and economic progress and unique cultural heritage.

    Reporter: The international financial crisis has hit hard the real economies of many countries. Will this have any adverse effects on preparations for the Expo?

    Yu: World expositions are like “economic Olympics,” and they have often played an important role in helping lift the world’s economies out of the doldrums by providing a powerful stimulus to the global economy as a whole. As the host for the Expo, Shanghai will definitely attract investment, create more job opportunities and stimulate tourism and shopping, which will all give a boost to the local economy.

    Looking back at the history of the world, we see that the 1933 Chicago Expo coincided with a global economic crisis. That Expo created nearly 100,000 jobs directly or indirectly and attracted a total attendance of nearly 23 million. In a significant way, it helped give people the courage and confidence to overcome the crisis, making it a great success.

    Based on the experience of the past, we firmly believe that, faced with the global economic recession, when people come together in Shanghai they will explore ways and means to boost global cooperation and development in order to combat the crisis. This will help the people of the world increase their confidence and courage and lead to reinvigoration of the global economy.

    We have been constantly looking at the possible adverse effect the global financial crisis could have on attendance at Expo 2010. Of the target attendance of 70 million visitors, 95% are expected to come from China and the rest from other parts of the world. We will be launching promotions in major target cities, in particular focusing on ticket marketing activities this year.

    Naturally, the current financial crisis is causing some difficulties for some countries and international organizations that plan to participate in the Expo. As the Expo organizers, we will provide high-quality, efficient and comprehensive services to aid in their participation in the Expo and help them cut participation costs to the minimum.

    First of all, we have set up an assistance fund of 100 million dollars in accordance with the pledge China made in its application to host Expo 2010, and we estimate that over 100 developing countries wishing to participate will receive assistance from this fund. This will help ensure that developing countries can participate in the Expo and will be able to put their best foot forward at their Expo exhibitions.

    In addition, given the current circumstances, we will be making a special effort to provide participating parties with more people- friendly services and excellent conditions for participation. For instance, we will set up a “one-stop” service hall where all the formalities can be handled for customs and quarantine inspection to save participants from having to go to all the respective offices, thereby raising efficiency and cutting costs for participants. The Expo Commercial Services Center will offer 16 types of services to be given by nearly 300 service providers from which participants may chose. These providers have been selected on the basis of their price-performance ratios through a rigid bidding process so that participants can keep overhead to a minimum.

    The organizers of the Expo are doing everything possible to consider the issue of technical services from the perspective of the participants by “creating the necessary conditions, making things convenient and simplifying processes” to help them save time and money. 

    We are confident that the above measures will ensure that the Expo realizes the target set for overseas visitors. 

Note: Wang Anqi is a reporter of Qiushi Journal

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