ART FOR ALL: Students visit a poster exhibit on July 5 depicting how teenage artists picture the city in 2030. The event marked the 300-day countdown to the World Expo 2010 Shanghai (PEI XIN)
A super-sized statue of Shanghai World Expo mascot Haibao placed at the gate of the Capital Museum in Beijing on July 5 combined with an expo exhibition inside signaled the 300-day countdown to the grand event.
The exhibition is composed of four parts: general information on the Shanghai Expo, relations between China and the World Expo, a brief introduction to the Bureau of International Exhibitions and the history of the event.
The highlight of the exhibit is a five-minute three-dimensional film being shown to the public for the first time that offers a bird's-eye-view of the Expo site and its various pavilions.
"I knew little about the Shanghai Expo before, but now I can recognize the China Pavilion, the Performance Center and the pavilions of many other countries. They are all very impressive," 83-year-old Shao Lu told Xinhua News Agency.
During the expo, visitors will be able to enjoy colorful cultural performances and arts activities from around the world. Nearly 100 events will take the stage every day, with the total number over the duration of the expo expected to exceed 20,000.
Yu Zhengsheng, Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, said Shanghai wants to make Expo 2010 a place to display urban civilizations, exchange different concepts of urban development and discover future ways of living.
Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), said the national traveling exhibition represents one of the core dimensions of the Expo, which is to be an educational and transformational project for the whole nation.
The exhibition has toured more than 20 cities in China since the 1,000-day countdown began and attracted about 2 million visitors, said exhibition chief designer Yu Li.
The exhibition will be held on July 7-25 except on Mondays and it is free of charge.
"It will be a great event. The Chinese Government is doing a great job promoting the Expo," Guido Gudat, head of Communications of the German Pavilion, told Xinhua.
In Shanghai, residents took part in various activities to celebrate the countdown.
An exhibition of posters drawn by 160 teenage painters from all over the country was held in the city. The artists depicted the city as they thought it would look in 2030 to illustrate Better City, Better Life, the theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Volunteers hosted a public campaign on July 5 aimed at helping the disabled called We Are by Your Side.
More than 300,000 people have applied to be 2010 World Expo volunteers, 95 percent of whom are under the age of 35.
The Shanghai Automobile Industry Group (SAIG) produced nearly 1,000 new vehicles that incorporate the latest in environmentally friendly technology.
In a ceremony to introduce the group's new hi-tech vehicles, the Shanghai Municipal Government vowed to support research and development into automobiles that consume alternative fuels.
Chinese basketball megastar Yao Ming, as an ambassador to the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, had a very busy schedule on July 5 as a special guide to introduce the upcoming event. Yao invited several stars to take part in a ceremony to raise funds for children affected by the Sichuan earthquake as well as those from low-income families so that they may attend the expo for free.
More than 40,000 World Expo tickets were sold on July 1, the first day they were available for purchase by individuals, said Zhong Yanqun, Deputy Director of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai Executive Committee. More than 62 million tickets are expected to be sold. To avoid swarms of people, over 200 machines will be made available for visitors to make reservations. The China Pavilion will only accept visitors with reservations.
So far, 191 nations and 48 international organizations have confirmed they will participate in the Expo, according to the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.