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Shanghai Expo convergence of human civilizations, past and future 

By Chen Yong, Yi Gaochao (Xinhua)
Updated: 2010-04-29 12:04
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When two different cultures cross paths, it may be coincidence in either time or space; but when almost all the existing cultures converge, it demands more than just luck.

Eight years of careful planning and preparation will culminate in the grand opening of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, where cultures from 192 countries and more than 50 international institutions will meet and compare notes.

Concepts and exhibits to be on display at this year's exposition are not only improvements on their predecessors, but will also be prototypes for future development.

For 184 days starting May Day, visitors will witness such concepts and exhibits as an around-the-clock solar-powered aeroplane, a zero-emission motor vehicle, a zero-carbon community and a human-like robot.

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New technology has been appearing at World Expos since 1851, but the steam engines and steam boats have gradually given way to energy-efficient and cleaner vehicles powered by rechargeable batteries and, better still, fuel cells.

Visitors to Shanghai will experience the convenience of today's versions of telephones, telegraphs, phonographs, incandescent lamps, and film projectors.

The gadgets facilitating human lives have been improving all along; as has the overall environment for human beings.

With the theme "Better City, Better Life," the upcoming Shanghai Expo will incorporate visitors into environmentally friendly and environmentally sensitive urban systems that are not only equipped with the latest life-facilitating gadgets, but are also prepared for sustainable urbanization.

In Shanghai, visitors will experiment with and experience the expertise of far-sighted urban planning, futuristic urbanization and sustainable urban development through a crystallization of wisdom, such as showcased in the national pavilions of China's Oriental Crown, Saudi Arabia's Moon Boat, Britain's Dandelion and Japan's Purple Cocoon.

While the Eiffel Tower of Paris, Atomium of Brussels and Space Needle of Seattle have more than outlived the expositions they were built for to herald the advent and advancement of industrialization and the atomic era, the Shanghai ecotone along the Huangpu River will augur well the collective conscience and consciousness about the surroundings human beings rely on for survival, let alone prosperity.

Shanghai will be no exception to the event's motto of "all taking off with the World Expo." Organizers and participants in China's largest city have all strived to live up to the anticipation.

They have all contributed to promulgate and popularize the know-how and how-to in the domain of securing a sustainable development for all mankind.

On the eve of the opening of the 2010 expo, media and dignitaries have joined those who have already taken part in the trial runs or dress rehearsals in appreciating the efforts so far made and praising the collective insight of organizers and participants.

A commentary in Japan's Yukan Fuji newspaper has called the yet-to-open Shanghai Expo a can't-miss event; Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper has ranked the Shanghai expo as unprecedented; and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy described it as a World Expo firmly facing the future.