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Shanghai World Expo to set records

Efforts are under way to make the World Expo 2010 Shanghai China a historic milestone, with new records set in the number of participants and visitors, said a senior Shanghai official on Sunday.

“The organizers aim at two records in the World Expo history, namely to draw 200 countries and international organizations to participate and to attract 70 million visitors from both home and abroad,” said Xi Jinping, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China. In an interview with reporters from leading Chinese news organizations, Xi said 158 countries and international organizations had confirmed their participation in the Expo, which will be held from May 1 to October 31, 2010, by the end of July.

He said the Expo is an important opportunity for Shanghai and other regions of the country to boost economic as well as cultural development. “The Expo is a platform to display the image of the whole country,” said Xi, who called for efforts from all parts of the country to make the Expo a success. Xi said the Expo, with the theme “Better City, Better life”, will have impact not only on the economy, but also on culture. He said Shanghai has launched campaigns to help millions of citizens learn Putonghua (standard Chinese) and English and etiquette rules in preparing for the Expo.

Xi said to cope with the huge visitor flows swarming into the city during the event, Shanghai will improve its accommodation and transportation capacity. The city’s rail track mileage will reach 400 kilometers after it completes the construction of 12 lines by 2010, he said. “A city without individuality loses its soul,” Xi said, noting that ancient buildings such as the Jiangnan Shipyard, which reflect the city’s cultural and industrial history, will be protected, respected and well-treated in this round of construction.

Xi said a total of 18,000 households which lived within the planned land for the Expo have moved out into larger apartments. The municipal government has also signed relocation agreements with most enterprises and institutions in the area. All land will be cleared for the expo by the end of this year, said Xi. (english.people.com.cn)