We met up with Yu Li, a proud member of the the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination, to get his view-points on the World Expo that will take place in 2010. The first World Exposition was held in London on the 1st of May, 1851, and is held every few years or so, most recently held in Aichi, Japan, and next in Zaragoza, Spain, in 2008.
How long have you been working for the Expo Bureau, and what section do you work for?
I have worked for the Expo enterprise since 1997, when we were in charge of other expos, for example the World Horticultural Expo which was held in Kunming in 1999. I currently work in the Exhibition Content and Cultural Activities section of the Expo Bureau.
How is the Expo Bureau organised?
Although the Expo will be in Shanghai, it is still a national interest, so the central government organises us. The participants, be they country’s representatives or individual organisations, are all organised by their respective governments. The Expo Bureau will cease to exist after 2010, however we will have learnt many skills and we can use these for future large-scale events in China.
What are the main tasks to complete in 2006? What about in the next few years?
The construction site planning is being finalised, and we will be starting to decide how to organise the different pavilions. By 2008, we will hope to know who the definite participants will be, for example which international governments and organisations will be taking part.
What do you think about the relocation of residents from around the Huang Pu river site?
The relocation of people is a necessity. The city will never grow if we keep things the same. The current area is very old and filled with old industrial buildings. It is not good for anyone to have Shanghai staying the same, without regeneration or change, and we can’t develop some areas and leave others the same forever. The new developments will be better for everyone.
After 2010, what other major events are left for Shanghai and China to hold?
Chinese people anticipate that one day we can hold the World Cup here (football/soccer World Cup). After the Olympics and the World Expo, the World Cup is the event that Chinese people love the most.
What is special about the Shanghai World Expo?
Well, the Expo is special for Chinese people as it gives them a chance to experience an international exposition which showcases the state of the world at the current time. The first Expo was held in London in 1851, and this was one of England’s industrial peaks. You could say that London was the capital of the world, and has been for some time. Paris has held several Expos in the past, and Paris is the fashion capital of the world in many people’s eyes. We hope that now is the time when Shanghai can aim to reach such heights of being a capital of the world, and we want to be able to keep pace with those capitals in developed countries. This is the first World Expo which will take place in a developing country.
Expos are about people getting closer and closer together. The advancement and expansion of technology means that information can be spread incredibly quickly, and we can learn about cultural diversity much more easily these days. Cultural diversity can push societies forward, and can be very productive. The more we mix together and learn about each other, the better it will be for everyone.
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