Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government [Xinhua/Global Times] #China #Leadershiptransition

A legacy wraps up.

– – –

Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government
By Agencies
Source – Global Times, published March 18, 2013

Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the First Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2013 and adopted on March 17, 2013:

Report on the work of the government

Delivered at the First Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2013

Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council

Fellow Deputies,

On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you the report on the government’s work of the past five years and suggestions for its work this year for your deliberation and for comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). I. Review of Work in the Past Five Years

Please click here to read the rest of the strike at its source. There are altogether twelve parts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, High Speed Rail, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Shanghai World Expo, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, xinhua

China holds closing ceremony for Shanghai Expo [China Daily/Xinhua]

Sunday marked the end of the Shanghai Expo, and I had the chance to watch some of it on TV. More money was spent on the Expo than the Olympic Games, and the media representation was top notch. I have heard much internal criticisms about how it reeks of elitism and favoritism (especially from popular Chinese blogger Han Han) toward the rich and powerful, but having being part of the everyday Chinese flock to visit the Expo and what it had to offer – I can bear testimony that many ordinary Chinese minds were emancipated as a result. Beyond them benefitting from China’s economic progress, this expo would also have alleviated their minds in giving them an opportunity to them see, appreciate, and learn how to work with the wider world; that there is a larger picture outside the great wall.

There is always a give and take element to events of such magnitude, and perhaps the net gain should be the focus. I am sure more bridges were built than broken. It is a tantamount task to please 73 million visitors. The first Expo to be held in a ‘developing’ country (China continues to play this card close to the chest),  I guess it was no surprise a PR spiel such as this – ‘The gala is eyed in China as another event of national splendor after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games showcased China’s status as an economic and political power to the world’ was reinforced. China’s charm offensive and public diplomacy would have most certainly gained another powerful agent with this event.

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China holds closing ceremony for Shanghai Expo
Source – China Daily, published October 31, 2010

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (3rd R) attends the closing ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo at the Expo Cultural Center in the World Expo Park in Shanghai, Oct 31, 2010. Photo - Xinhua

SHANGHAI – The 184-day Shanghai World Expo came to the end as a closing ceremony started here Sunday evening.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other dignitaries attended the ceremony.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said the Expo has made China and the world come closer together, and a more open, inclusive and culturally advanced China that steadily moves forward will join other countries in the world to usher in an ever brighter future for all.

He said the Expo spirit will be carried forward from generation to generation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Communications, Culture, Education, Han Han, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Shanghai World Expo, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Change Expo to better showcase China [China Daily]

Projection of soft power is a key research of mine, and this article speaks some truth. Already we see many instances of cross-pollination. Zen Buddhism, Feng Shui, Kung Fu and the like have been successful cultural capital but what is lacking is a cohesive effort to brand them together under one flagship. Naisbitt in his book China’s Megatrends puts it quite pertinently for a sense of the diagrammatic – American Eagle versus Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps the Shanghai Expo should be redesignated into a new cultural beacon for China. However, I also think there is a danger when the soft power projection gets too potent – it will sow the seeds for nationalism on a scale never seen before, and then we’ll be back to square one. I may be thinking too far, but yet another hegemonic force imposing itself on the rest of us does not seem like progress to me.

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Change Expo to better showcase China
By M.D. Nalapat
Source – China Daily, published October 29, 2010

In the 1970s, Japan broke the stereotype that Asian countries could only produce goods inferior in quality to those made in Europe. By the time China’s economy began developing at a fast pace in the 1980s, the world had accepted that Japanese goods were as good as, if not better than, those made in Europe and North America.

Soon, South Korea followed in the footsteps of Japan. By the 1990s, South Korean companies were wresting larger market shares from their competitors in the United States and the European Union, and reaching levels that only their Japanese counterparts in Asia had scaled before.

Even in the 1990s, when the Chinese economy was growing at an unprecedented rate, the international perception was that China only did the basic work and it was for others to put the finishing touches and “add quality” to them. Chinese enterprises were almost always thought to be working on behalf of foreign companies, even though many foreign brands were being made in China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Shanghai World Expo, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Expo visitors hit 70m, meets expectation [China Daily/Xinhua]

So, Japan’s record is well-broken after forty years. 70 million visitors and I was one of that many. Regardless of the many reported and unreported setbacks, the net gain of this charm offensive both internal and external is that it fosters greater understanding between cultures and people. Personally I am heartened that a vast number of China’s migrant workers and theri families now know there is a larger world outside their walls. When these migrant workers make the transit to success stories, they may just have a wider lens at making sense of the world; both as Chinese and global citizen.

Looking beyond the public relations rhetoric in this article, this I found to be most pertinent – Sheng Banghe, sociologist with the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said what the Chinese are pursuing is no longer at the material level, but the spiritual. Translated, this means a move up Marslow’s hierarchy of needs for at least a portion of the population. Will we expect to see more ‘cultured’ Chinese in more ‘universally’ agreed terms?

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Expo visitors hit 70m, meets expectation
Source – China Daily, published October 24, 2010

Visitors walk around at Shanghai World Expo in Shanghai, Oct 24, 2010. The number of visitors to the Shanghai World Expo 2010 topped 70 million Sunday, meeting organizers’ expectations, according to an announcement on the official Expo website. Photo/Xinhua

SHANGHAI – The number of visitors to the Shanghai World Expo 2010 topped 70 million Sunday, meeting organizers’ expectations, according to an announcement on the official Expo website.

Total visitor arrivals broke the 70 million mark as of 10:17 am Sunday and by 1:30 pm some 572,900 visitors had entered the Expo Park on Sunday, the 177th day since the event started, bringing the total number of visitors to 70.28 million.

“The news is exciting and it’s also encouraging for the organizers,”  said an official with the Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Shanghai World Expo, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Face facts, Clinton tells China [The Age]

Face facts, Clinton tells China
Source – The Age, published May 23, 2010

FACING an uphill diplomatic struggle to win China’s support for penalising its ally North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday highlighted the benefits of US-Chinese co-operation at the World Expo in Shanghai.

Her visit to the expo on the banks of the Huangpu River marked a respite from an intense three-nation journey to Asia that took her to Japan on Friday and will see her move to Beijing today and then to the South Korean capital, Seoul, on Wednesday.

At each stop on the way, the crisis over the ship incident is expected to dominate her agenda but nowhere more than in Beijing where she and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are leading a delegation of nearly 200 US officials for talks intended to improve economic and strategic relations.

That second round of the so-called Strategic and Economic Dialogue was supposed to be the main thrust of her Asia trip, but with last week’s report blaming Pyongyang for sinking the South Korean vessel, her main task in Beijing will now be to try to persuade China to support UN Security Council action against North Korea. China, North Korea’s primary ally and financial supporter has thus far remained neutral on the conclusions of the report that found Pyongyang responsible for firing a torpedo that sank the South Korean ship Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors.

The UN Command’s Military Armistice Commission, which oversees the 1953 Korean War truce agreement, yesterday launched an independent investigation of the Cheonan’s sinking.

Representatives from Britain, Canada, Australia, the US, France, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey and Denmark will review the findings of the multinational investigation and determine the scope of North Korea’s armistice violation, a UN spokesman said.

US officials travelling with Mrs Clinton said she would try to persuade the Chinese to ”acknowledge the reality” of what happened and support measures that would help persuade the North to change its behaviour.

A senior US official told reporters Mrs Clinton would ”try to make a powerful case about why this is an extraordinarily serious matter and why we want the strong co-operation from China”.

”We’d like to see them acknowledge the reality of what happened and then join with South Korea, Japan and us in helping to fashion a response that helps to change North Korean behaviour,” the official said.

Speaking in Japan on Friday, Mrs Clinton made it clear the Obama administration wanted the UN to take action against North Korea.

”Let me be clear. This will not be, and cannot be, business as usual,” Mrs Clinton said. ”There must be an international – not just a regional, but an international – response.”

Yesterday, however, Mrs Clinton adopted a low-key approach, but made clear she hoped the World Expo, in particular the popular US pavilion, would create greater understanding and goodwill ties between Washington and Beijing as well as the Chinese and American people.

”I will carry with me many positive feelings when I leave Shanghai tomorrow to go to Beijing,” she told the local Communist Party chief after visiting the Chinese pavilion. ”We think government-to-government relations are very important but we believe people-to-people relations between the Chinese and American people are the most important foundation for a very positive future between our two countries.”


Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese overseas, Influence, International Relations, North Korea, Politics, Shanghai World Expo, Sinking of South Korean Warship Cheonan 2010, Strategic Economic Dialogue, The Age, U.S.

MM Lee opens S’pore pavilion [at Shanghai World Expo] [Straits Times]

MM Lee opens S’pore pavilion
Participating in Expo strengthens current friendships, builds new ties, he says
By Peh Shing Huei, China Bureau Chief in Shanghai
Source – Straits Times, published May 16, 2010

MM Lee at the roof garden of the Singapore Pavilion (above) and looking at the painting, Along The River During The Qingming Festival, at the China pavilion. -- PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said he was impressed by the Singapore pavilion after officially launching it at the World Expo here yesterday.

After turning a giant golden key to symbolise the opening of the music box-like silver structure, he told Singapore journalists that the pavilion was representative of Singapore’s distinctive characteristics.

‘Naturally, I’m very impressed by the effort we put in,’ said Mr Lee, who is the first senior Singapore leader to visit the six-month-long mega event which opened on May 1.

‘The structure is quite distinctive and the exhibits inside do present parts of what is special about Singapore.

‘And this roof garden epitomises our city in the garden. I think it’s not bad,’ he added, in a brief interview at the Floral Finale, the peak of the pavilion which showcases Singapore’s rich diversity of tropical plants.

He was given a colourful welcome by dancers on podiums swaying to the beats of Chinese drums, before touring the structure’s theatre, fountains and crowd-favourite trampolines – an ensemble to present the theme of ‘Urban Symphony’.

Greetings of ‘Li Yeye, xia wu hao’ (Good afternoon, Grandpa Lee) added to the melodies in the pavilion, with 22 underprivileged children from CapitaLand’s Hope Foundation forming a line to welcome Mr Lee.

The children – who are from Sichuan, Guangdong and Yunnan provinces – are part of the Singapore property firm’s ‘Hand in Hand 20.10’ campaign, which takes 2,010 young Chinese from poor families to visit the Expo.

The campaign is meant to mark this year’s 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, an occasion which is also celebrated by the Singapore pavilion.

MM Lee said that Singapore’s participation in the Expo will ‘enhance our relationship by providing more opportunities to strengthen current friendships, build new ties, as well as facilitate further mutual exchanges’, according to a press statement from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The board’s chief executive, Ms Aw Kah Peng, said that to celebrate the anniversary, Singapore has built its largest pavilion in the 10-year history of its participation in the World Expo.

She promises ‘an exciting line-up of events, exhibitions and forums, providing Chinese residents and international visitors more opportunities to discover Singapore’.

Mr Lee also visited the China pavilion, viewing its showpiece 12th-century famous classical Chinese painting Along The River During The Qingming Festival.

He leaves today for Beijing, the second stop of his 10-day visit of China and Japan.


Filed under: International Relations, Politics, Shanghai World Expo, Singapore, Straits Times

[Shanghai] Expo not hitting daily visitor targets [Straits Times]

Expo not hitting daily visitor targets
Source – Straits Times, published May 10, 2010

SHANGHAI: One week into the six-month World Expo in Shanghai, organisers are already worrying they will fail to draw the 70 million visitors they have predicted.

So far, turnout has fallen far short of the daily average of 380,000 needed to meet that goal.

Only 207,000 people came on the opening day on May 1 even though all 500,000 tickets were sold out. Organisers who keenly offered hourly attendance updates at the outset are now giving only daily figures.

‘If the situation continues, we will take measures to increase the flow of visitors,’ an Expo official who did not want to be named was quoted as saying by the Global Times newspaper.

Ms Portia Luo, a 29-year-old secretary watching Mongolian musicians and Canadian aboriginal dancers perform at the site yesterday, said reports of big crowds and long waits in the hot sun had ‘definitely… scared some people’ away.

More than 33 million tickets have been sold and the Shanghai government plans to give a free ticket to each household in the city, boosting potential attendance so far to 40 million, organisers said.

They have urged ticketholders not to wait until the Expo’s final weeks to show up, but 54-year-old retiree Jiang Lijun said she did not want to tackle the heat and would likely wait until at least September to visit with her family.

‘We saw too many media reports saying that there are very long queues at the Expo park,’ Madam Jiang said outside a downtown shopping mall.

But the lower-than-expected turnout meant lines were flowing smoothly at the site’s hot spots by last weekend. Tough security also may have dampened tourists’ enthusiasm. The authorities have insisted on rigorous searches in rail and subway stations, car inspections and major road traffic restrictions around the site.

The Expo – a display of culture, ideas and technology from 189 countries and dozens of companies – is seen as a showcase of China’s growing political and economic clout.

After the Chinese pavilion, the most popular venues on the opening weekend were the Swiss, French, German, Spanish, British, Italian, Japanese and South Korean pavilions, organisers said. The United States pavilion is also drawing crowds.

Shanghai – keen to show the world it is a cosmopolitan city on par with London and New York – nevertheless hopes it can set an Expo attendance record, topping the 64 million people who visited Osaka in 1970.


Filed under: Shanghai World Expo, Straits Times

Shanghai Expo opens for the world [China Daily]

The expo is finally open – see below for the official preview video to have a sense of the scale involved. I certainly hope to pay a visit sometime later in the year. I think this is the Chinese relationship machine at full swing – I do trust it will serve to build bridges (as Hu Jintao promises in this report that the expo is one- “… that will bridge China and the world.”).

Click here for what the BIE secretary-general has to say to open the event -“The Greatest Show on Earth: BIE Chief (China Daily)

An event built at the cost of $50 billion featuring cutting edge  green ideas, this should connect China with the world beyond economic and political ties. It really is time to make genuine friends. Click here for to read what people are saying about the Expo (China Daily) or here – Shanghai World Expo opens with modest attendance (Indepedent, UK)

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Shanghai Expo opens for the world
By Wang Zhenghua and Wu Jiao
Source – China Daily, published May 01, 2010

”]SHANGHAI – Expo 2010 Shanghai raised its curtains for the world on Friday with a dazzling display of sight and sound. President Hu Jintao declared the opening of an extravaganza with performances and fireworks that highlighted China’s growing confidence from rising economic clout and its increasing openness in the international community. The opening marked the first time for a developing country to hold the World Expo in its 159 years of history. The Expo will usher in new ways of life and help promote harmony among mankind, cities and nature, Vice-Premier

Wang Qishan said at the opening ceremony held in the futuristic, UFO-shaped Expo Cultural Center.

Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE) President Jean-Pierre Lafon said he hopes the Expo will contribute to a social awakening, so that cities may become more sustainable, fairer, safer and more harmonious.

The country’s financial capital, playing host to China’s biggest international event after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, was bathed in celebration. Neon lights illuminated the 3.5-km stretch of Shanghai’s riverfront at The Bund.

The star-studded indoor festivities included action star Jackie Chan, Japanese singer Shinji Tanimura, concert pianist Lang Lang and opera star Andrea Bocelli, among 2,300 performers.

The evening also featured the largest outdoor multimedia laser display over the city’s Huangpu River.

A water fantasia featured a 250-meter-wide dancing fountain with jets as high as 80 meters.

The river waters glowed with 6,000 red and yellow, 0.5-meter-large LED balls and lights, as an aquatic parade of 200 flag boats sailed along the river, representing nations and regions participating in the Expo.

“This is the first time a World Expo is hosting an opening ceremony of this scale,” said David Atkins, CEO of David Atkins Enterprises, artistic director for the event.

The Expo, which aims to showcase the latest technology and inventions, attracted a record of 189 countries and 57 international organizations, including 22 nations without diplomatic relations with China.

Almost all African countries, which rarely showed up at previous expos, are gathering in Shanghai.

The Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life” was displayed all over a rapidly expanding Shanghai.

“We should not see the Expo as just a huge exhibition. It is also a process of exchanging ideas and integration,” said Professor Cai Jianguo, dean of the International Cultural Exchange College of Shanghai-based Tongji University.

The event is a way to inspire ideas that light the way to a better future, he said.

To keep up with green concepts of the times, the main Expo site, which spans 5.3 sq km across both sides of the Huangpu, has been designed to be environmentally friendly. Most of the materials used to construct the innovative national or regional pavilions will be recycled.

Similarly, the site boasts a 4.7-megawatt solar power system, China’s largest, with panels installed on Expo buildings. Zero-emission vehicles are also used to patrol the ground.

Green ideas and applications ranging from energy-efficient stereo systems and LED screens to clean and smoke-free fireworks were in full swing at the ceremony.

Program menus, brochures, gift handbags and props for the ceremony were made of recyclable paper, and used milk boxes had been turned into 2,000 VIP seats.

Xinhua News Agency said the Expo “is set to be remembered for … magnificent exhibits, architecture and ideas for urban sustainability”, adding that visitors will see a “kaleidoscope of landmarks, ideas and visions”.

The spotlight will be on the cutting-edge architecture of pavilions in all shapes, colors and sizes, branded with each country’s or region’s unique culture and history.

The city has reportedly spent $58 billion on the Expo and related infrastructure to accommodate the 70 million people, mainly Chinese, who are expected to visit during the six-month event.

Hu pledged earlier to host an “unforgettable” Expo that will bridge China and the world.

“I am confident that people around the world will witness a successful, splendid and unforgettable World Expo,” Hu said at a dinner to welcome foreign dignitaries. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were among some 20 heads of state and world leaders attending the event.

The Expo will be an opportunity for China and also for the world, Hu said.

China will present to the world a country with a 5,000-year history, which is enjoying fast development and changes through reform and opening up, he said.

Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary-General of the BIE, told China Daily that the Expo “represents the crystallization of the profound commitment and dedication of the Chinese government and of its people to achieve … a better understanding between China and the world”.

“Yes, we want to strengthen not only economic ties, but also cultural links. We hope partnerships will go both ways,” said Hreinn Palsson, Iceland’s commissioner-general to the Shanghai fair.

Hernan Somerville, Chile’s commissioner general to the Expo, said the money spent on the occasion is an investment that “will pay very high intangible dividends in terms of image, connections, and cultural and human relationships (with China)”.

Huang Yaocheng, a consultant at the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said the Expo will affect China’s economic development in a way for low-carbon concepts to prevail.

“Innovation will also become a driving force behind China’s development,” he said.

Xinhua, AP and Reuters contributed to the story

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Culture, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Media, Politics, Shanghai World Expo, Soft Power

Denmark’s ‘Little Mermaid’ surfaces at Shanghai Expo [AsiaOne]

The Little Mermaid has finally arrived in Shanghai, a month after leaving the safe harbour of Cophenhangen for the first time ever. “The idea of bring a national icon just came to us and we knew this was the idea we wanted to do. It is a strong signal of openness not only to China but the entire world,” Mike Lippert, Denmark pavilion’s creative director.

– – –

Denmark’s ‘Little Mermaid’ surfaces at Shanghai Expo
Source – AsiaOne, Apr 25, 2010

SHANGHAI – Denmark’s Little Mermaid sculpture resurfaced to music and fanfare Sunday in the middle of Shanghai’s World Expo, a month after leaving her perch in Copenhagen harbour for the first time ever.

The statue is considered a national treasure in Denmark and the decision to send it to Shanghai for the six-month World Expo, which starts Saturday, was contentious. It has been a major tourist attraction since 1913.

“She has since then sat quietly on her rock on Copenhagen Harbour in Copenhagen until today,” Christopher Bo Bramsen, the commissioner general of Denmark’s Expo pavilion said at an unveiling ceremony.

“From today the stature of the Little Mermaid will be the centre of the Danish Pavilion at Expo 2010,” he said.

Hundreds of Chinese Expo preview ticket holders gathered to watch as a red velvet cover was lifted of the statue to reveal her sitting in a pool of water bathed in sunlight at the heart of Denmark’s spiralling white pavilion.

“Millions of tourists will be mesmerised by her beauty,” Shanghai deputy mayor Tu Guangshao said at the unveiling.

Up to 100 million people – 95 percent of them Chinese – are expected the attend the Expo and Danish officials estimate the statue will help attract 200,000 visitors a day to the pavilion and three million over six months.

“We wanted to do something really extraordinary,” said Mike Lippert, the pavilion’s creative director.

“The idea of bring a national icon just came to us and we knew this was the idea we wanted to do. It is a strong signal of openness not only to China but the entire world,” he said.

The 175-kilogram (385-pound) statue by Edvard Eriksen was inspired by a character created by Hans Christian Andersen in an 1837 fairytale and known as the “old lady of the sea”.

The decision to let the statue go was the subject of heated debate in Denmark, especially in Copenhagen, where a majority of residents were opposed to the idea up until the end of last year, according to polls.

But the city of Copenhagen, which owns the sculpture, nonetheless decided to send her to the Shanghai World Expo to represent Denmark.

The move has made the Danish pavilion one of the Expo’s most talked-about attractions in China, where every schoolchild reads Andersen’s stories.

A temporary video installation by Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most famous artists and an outspoken social critic, will be unveiled in Copenhagen in May, in the mermaid’s former perch.

It will project live images of the mermaid and her visitors at the Expo.

Filed under: AsiaOne, Charm Offensive, Influence, International Relations, Shanghai World Expo

Expo security tightened in Shanghai [China Daily]

“…the focus in the coming month is the six trial runs which will be staged in and around the Expo site, each involving 500,000 people.”

Honestly, I wonder how many countries can mobilize 500,000 people for six trial runs?

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Expo security tightened in Shanghai
By Wang Zhenghua
Source – China Daily, published April 1st, 2010

SHANGHAI – China is confident of hosting a safe and successful World Expo, Shanghai’s top leader has said in the aftermath of serial suicide bombings in Russia which have jolted the world.

With 30 days to go before the grand opening of the gala, Shanghai Party chief Yu Zhengsheng said the city can ensure the security of the 184-day event with the key being mobilization of people and careful implementation of plans.

“All the infrastructure will be completed in time; all measures on security, traffic and publicity have been taken, and residents have high expectations of the Expo – all of which show that we are ready,” he said.

“I am confident that with the help of the public, we will do an excellent job on security,” he added.

Patrol units with sniffer dogs are deployed at entrances to the subway in Shanghai as part of enhanced security measures before and during the Expo. Photo - China Daily

Security has become a paramount issue following Monday’s double suicide bombings in Moscow, which killed 39. Another two suicide bombings in Russia’s North Caucasus region on Wednesday killed at least 12.

Major Chinese cities have stepped up security checks at subway stations while some propose upgrading checks at bus stations.

Beijing on Tuesday beefed up security in the city’s metro system.

Fu Zhenghua, director of the Beijing public securit bureau, said police patrols with sniffer dogs were increased at metro stations, where they will make more frequent checks.

Many believe the Expo faces tougher security challenges compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games due to the six-month duration and huge number of visitors, estimated at 70 million.

Pan Guang, an expert on anti-terror affairs at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said for any big event, vigilance tends to wane as it draws on.

Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism research center at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said security threats could come from anywhere, such as from “East Turkistan” terrorist organizations seeking Xinjiang “independence”.

Shanghai has taken such measures as extending the X-ray scanning of passengers’ hand luggage to all metro stations.

City officials are also hoping to close a deal with

Swedish security services provider Securitas AB.

Taking a cue from Beijing’s preparations for the 2008 Games, Shanghai has called on 1 million volunteers – many of them retirees – to patrol streets and detect any security hazards.

The combination of professional anti-terrorism forces and the public “forms an effective anti-terrorism module”, Wu Heping, the spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security, told a Tuesday news briefing.

“In general, China’s security situation is stable,” he said.

Yu said the focus in the coming month is the six trial runs which will be staged in and around the Expo site, each involving 500,000 people.

He warned the public that visiting the Expo will not be a picnic because of the expected huge influx of visitors. An average of 400,000 people are expected to visit the Expo daily between May 1 and Oct 31.

More than 15 million visited the Aichi Expo in Japan five years ago, with each pavilion taking up to four hours to visit.

Shanghai has come up with various measures to deal with the crowds expected to flood the Expo on weekends or holidays, Yu said.

For instance, individual visitors are encouraged to join group tours. The Labor Day holiday will also be extended by two days, from April 30 to May 4, Yu said. The measure is designed to help ease the travel crush during the period.

The opening of the Expo will include a 30-minute art performance, Yu said, after which the scene will shift to the Huangpu River – to highlight the identity and location of the host city – where fireworks, fountains, lighting displays and music shows will be staged. The entire ceremony will last for around one-and-half hours.

Filed under: China Daily, Communications, Influence, International Relations, Media, Shanghai World Expo

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