Here’s some pictures of the Expo grounds now being demolished.
In other news: We reached the 70 million people goal set for the Expo but how much of that was due to government tomfoolery? We’ve learned thanks to a NY Times article that the government was forcing scores of people to visit the Expo so as not to lose face.
“We were required to come, otherwise, they said, they would cut our wages,” one state garment factory worker explained. Turns out state employees and government bureaucrats from every part of the nation had pretty much the same deal. If you worked for any company that was state-affiliated, you were handed free one day tickets and sent on a field trip to the Expo. Many state-run travel agencies also had quotas to fill.
Long before the Expo got under way, Shanghai authorities predicted that it would largely be attended by a domestic audience. Drawing huge crowds would be easy, organizers said, because only a small percentage of China’s residents get to travel overseas. But hopes for a record-breaking effort seemed in doubt after visitor numbers dipped to 131,000 a day on May 3. That was far below the 380,000 daily average organizers said was necessary to break the record.
Soon after, Expo officials reminded the media that Shanghai’s 20 million residents would each be given a free one-day Expo pass. The city also started a promotional blitz on the nation’s state-run networks. State travel agencies were pressed to deliver on their Expo quotas. And they did.
Why was it so important to make 70 million visitors? Oh, that’s right, so we could say “In your face, Japan!” and shatter Osaka Expo’s record of 64 million that was set in 1970–of utmost importance, considering all that’s been happening lately.
So the government is up to it’s old tricks again. In 2008, the government wanted to ensure the Olympic torchbearer relay would have plenty of support so they staged cheering crowds, busing the same people from one leg of the race to the next. And sometimes we even help our neighbors cheer too.
Though if we’re being completely honest, being forced to go to the Expo doesn’t sound all that bad, since the government was footing the bill for everything. I’d imagine it’d be a nice day off from the garment factory, no?