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China's hundred-year dream with World Expo

2010. 29 April

( With the clock ticks near the opening of the Shanghai World Expo, China is gearing up in an effort to present a successful and impressive World Expo, running from May 1 to Oct. 31.

It was the first time for the 159-year-old World Expo to be held in a developing country since the inaugural fair in London in 1851. Following are China's connection with the event:

Xu Rongcun, a businessmen in the Qing Dynasty, was the first Chinese to join a World Expo. The silk produced by Xu's company won the prize for China in the first World Expo in London in 1851.

In 1894, Zheng Guanying, a well-known Chinese thinker, proposed the idea of hosting the World Expo in Shanghai in his masterpiece Sheng Shi Wei Yan, or words of warning in times of prosperity.

The People's Republic of China made its first debut at the World Expo 1982 in Knoxvile, the United States. The China Pavilion, with a display of ten old bricks from the Great Wall, terracotta warriors and bronze chariots of Emperor Qinshihuang's tomb, amazed the visitors.

In May 1993, China was accepted as the 46th member country of the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE), enabling the country to bid to host the World Expo.

In December 1999, China announced at the 126th plenary meeting of BIE that the government would support Shanghai's bid for the World Expo 2010.

In May 2001, China formally submitted its application letter to the BIE, just months after the country submitted an application report to the International Olympic Committee to host the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

On December 3, 2002, at the 132nd General Assembly of the BIE in Monte Carlo, Monaco, with 54 votes in the final round of secret ballots by 89 BIE member states, Shanghai won its bid to host the World Expo 2010.

On June 3, 2004, the organizing committee of the Shanghai World Expo was set up, seven days before the establishment of its executive committee, which is in charge of the preparing, organizing, operating and managing of the Expo.

On March 22, 2006, the organizing committee sent letters to invite 168 countries with official diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and 49 inter-governmental international organizations to participate in the Expo.

In May 2006, letters of invitation were sent to another 24 countries that have no diplomatic relations with the PRC and 11 non-governmental organizations.

In December 2007, Shanghai unveiled the Expo's mascot Haibao, which literally means "treasure of the world" and was selected from among 26,655 entries from 21 countries and regions. The blue smiling figure has curly hair and is in the shape of Chinese character REN, or human beings.

According to the latest statistics released by organizers Wednesday, 189 countries and 57 international organizations have confirmed their participation in the largest-ever expo which is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors from all over the world.