Beijing: Curtains came down today on the six-
month-long `Shanghai Expo`, billed as the biggest and most
expensive fair in which almost all countries, including India,
showcased their concepts and cultures to deal with the rapid
urbanisation in line with its theme `Better City, Better
Like its inaugural ceremony on May 1 during which top
leaders of different countries were present, several heads of
government, including Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, attended the valedictory
ceremony, where the Expo was formally declared closed by
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
Billed as biggest event organised by China after the 2008
Olympics to show case its meteoric rise as a major economic
and political power, the event, which was visited by over 71
million people, mostly Chinese citizens, was also regarded as
an attempt by the Chinese leadership to demonstrate the
growing influence of the country on the world stage.
China spent over USD 100 billion to improve the
infrastructure of the already well-laid out Shanghai city.
Buoyed by its success and the buzz it created among the
Chinese, the Chinese government said it plans to bid to host a
similar Expo in 2025 in Guangzhou, which is also hosting next
month`s Asian Games.
It was also the first time that the Expo was held in a
developing country, drawing 246 participating nations and
London had hosted the first Expo in the Crystal Palace of
Hyde Park in 1851 while the next Expo would be held in Milan,
Speaking at the closing ceremony, UN chief Ban said the
Chinese government, City of Shanghai and International Bureau
of Expositions, which organised the fair, deserve the highest
praise as it brought nations together and celebrated global
"Since May of this year, all around the world, people
have been talking about a remarkable, even historic event. I
hope that China will be an urban pioneer," Ban said, adding
that he looks forward to working more closely with China
across the sustainable development agenda.
Calling the event "eye-opening" and "unforgettable",
Premier Wen said since the Expo opened on May 1, "undeterred
by the searing heat or soaking rain, they (visitors) waited
patiently in long lines to witness this much anticipated
event... Through such extensive participation, Expo 2010
Shanghai has truly brought together people around the globe."
"Some are new to the World Expo and some do not yet have
diplomatic relations with China. Yet they all participated
with great interest and enthusiasm. This is a good example
which shows that the World Expo is above national, ethnic and
religious boundaries," he said.
"The Expo has brought together the Chinese people who
wish to learn more about the world and foreign friends who
wish to know more about China. Thanks to the Expo, they have
forged a strong bond of friendship," he said.
The Indian pavilion, which was modelled on the famous
Buddhist monument of `Sanchi Stoopa`, fitted with a set of
copper plates inspired by the tree of life and a wind
generator atop the dome, evoked interest in the beginning but
it later ended up in controversies over allegations of
corruption, mismanagement and poor conceptualisation.
The pavilion built and maintained by India Trade
Promotion Organisation (ITPO) came under criticism from the
media for allegedly failing to show case the achievements of