Special Report: World Expo 2010
BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- With the much-anticipated unveiling of the Shanghai World Expo in a week's time, countries are widely expected to to highlight their diverse and colorful cultures through creative endeavor.
As the first World Expo ever hosted by a developing country, the Shanghai World Expo will open a new chapter in the history, setting many new records, for example, in the number of participants.
An unprecedented 192 countries and 50 international organizations are expected at the event, which features some 189 National Pavilion Days and 39 International Organization Days as well as 20,000 cultural performances.
"BECAUSE IT'S IN CHINA"
Still struggling in the aftermath of the financial crisis, many countries have endeavored to overcome difficulties to be present at the Shanghai event, because "it's in China" and "nobody wants to miss it."
According to a U.S. law, the U.S. government does not provide funds for attending the World Expo, and all costs are covered by donations, mostly from big companies. However, the financial crisis has caused great financial losses to many companies, and there were once talks that the United States would not be able to participate in the expo.
To raise enough funds, Commissioner General of the U.S. pavilion Jose Villarreal and his colleagues organized a series of events to woo potential donors. On top of their question list was always "Does China have strategic significance for your company?" to which they always got a positive reply.
At last Villarreal successfully collected enough funds, enabling the United States to confirm its participation almost at the last minute. The country was among the last to start constructing its pavilion.
The United States is only one of many countries to stress the "China factor" of the World Expo. "One important reason for France to organize a largest-scale display in its World Expo history is that the hosting country China is an emerging giant," a spokesman from the French pavilion said.
As one of the first countries to confirm its participation in the Shanghai Expo, Chile decided to build a pavilion of its own, instead of renting one as originally planned, even though it was struck by a strong earthquake. A high government official called the event "a real national project" for his country.
The African country of Niger refused to give up its participation even after the military coup in February. "We promise to ship our displays to Shanghai on time," a chief representative of the pavilion told Chinese organizers.
Haiti, which was struck by a disastrous earthquake earlier this year, built a heart-shaped pavilion, expressing Haitians' wish for a better future and showing thanks to the Chinese people for their humanitarian aid.