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February 25, 2010

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A kaleidoscope of progress

FAN Jinshi

Fan Jinshi, born in 1938 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, graduated from Peking University in 1963. She is the headmistress of Dunhuang Academy and spent more than 40 years in cultural relic research in the northwestern historic city, earning the moniker "The Daughter of Dunhuang."

William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, once praised the World Expo as follows: "The World Expo is the timekeeper of progress. It records the world's advancement, stimulates the energy, enterprise, and intellect of people, and promotes development of human genius."

Over the past 150 years, the World Expo has kept a kaleidoscopic eye on the progress of modern civilization. It was at the World Expo that new inventions like steam engines, telephones, computers and robots made their debut, that new lifestyles and public facilities like holiday villages, clubs, theme parks, supermarkets and vending machines gained their popularity, and that driving new forces such as the automobile era, the communication revolution and the information technology age appeared one after another. All these phenomena have propelled human society in its relentless march into the future.

I was overwhelmed with joy at the news about Shanghai's successful bid to host World Expo 2010 Shanghai. This will be a show of Shanghai on behalf of China, a nation with a long history of civilization, showcasing the future orientation of modern world civilizations.

It all reminds me of the place where I am standing - Dunhuang.

The World Expo is a pageant of global civilization and its future.


Dunhuang, meanwhile, is a repository of our historical civilization that preserves the past and signifies eras gone by. They respectively symbolize the civilization of the future and the civilization of the past. Despite their differences, they both embody the common goals of human civilization - creation, participation and sharing. So far as these three aspects are concerned, the role of the World Expo is self-evident. Dunhuang is a historical wonder. It created a communication link between Eastern and Western civilizations as a linchpin of the Silk Road. Today, as world cultural heritage is shared by mankind, Dunhuang has preserved for modern societies their inheritance. I have always believed that mankind's ability to look to the future comes from the solid foundations of its historical past.

My attention is riveted on World Expo 2010 Shanghai because I still consider myself a daughter of Shanghai, even though I have been working in Dunhuang for 46 years. I have watched the progress of World Expo 2010 Shanghai. When I was told that it would become the largest-ever World Expo in terms of number of international participants, I was overwhelmed with pride.

The Gansu Pavilion at this World Expo will carry the theme of the Silk Road and urban development. As the earliest cradle of urban civilization, Dunhuang will exhibit its ancient charms and modern vigor during the event.

As a guardian of an ancient civilization, I strongly believe that World Expo 2010 Shanghai will elicit the enthusiasm of innovation for our ancient nation and advance our course of modernization. It will also trigger ideological scrutiny that may help us discern our future path and face the challenges and opportunities for the future of our entire human race.

I will certainly be back to Shanghai to visit the World Expo.


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