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Shanghai mayor plans Expo mission to Taiwan
2010. 8 March
by Li Xinran
(shanghaidaily.com) Mayor Han Zheng is expected to visit Taiwan in April to promote the Shanghai 2010 World Expo that begins the following month.
"We had the plan to go to the precious island long ago," Han said in Beijing yesterday on the sideline of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
"The trip this time is to further promote the World Expo on one hand and to enhance culturaland economic ties between Shanghai and Taiwan on the other.
"It will also be an opportunity to personally experience Taiwan's colorful history and culture and cross-strait blood bonds."
Han said he believed many Taiwan compatriots would visit the World Expo and he hoped to persuade even more to do so.
He dismissed claims the Expo could be the most expensive one staged and said the total budget was 28.6 billion yuan (US$4.19 billion).
He also guaranteed public security during the six-month event and an improved transport system.
Meanwhile, he said the planned first-phase space for Disneyland in Shanghai could be 3.9 square kilometers including the 1.16 square kilometers of core area.
"It won't be the smallest Disneyland in the world," he said.
Han revealed Shanghai's goal this year to start building 20 million square meters more housing space, including 12 million square meters belonging to the government housing relief program to offset soaring property prices.
He said the cost of housing in Shanghai had become unrealistic.
Shanghai's Party chief Yu Zhengsheng, also attending the NPC session, confirmed the city would increase the supply of housing space, adjust the structure of demand and publish the policy for a public housing rental scheme late this month. He suggested officials should watch domestic TV drama "Dwelling Narrowness" as it told a story about some young people's difficulty in finding affordable housing.
Yu said that he read online criticism every morning.
Han described himself as "a veteran Netizen" who attaches great importance to any negative news reports involving Shanghai and relevant online criticism.
He said the Internet was an efficient way to monitor government performance, increase transparency and seek improvements.