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'Little Mermaid' arrives in Shanghai for World Expo

DENMARK'S iconic "Little Mermaid" statue arrived in Shanghai yesterday for display at the World Expo, which opens next month.

After arriving at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 3 p.m., the box housing the "Little Mermaid" was carried directly to a warehouse under Customs' supervision.

The Customs authorities will not open the box until about April 25, when the "Little Mermaid" will officially move to her new home in Shanghai, the Denmark Pavilion at the Expo site, according to the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

It is the first time for the 1.5-meter landmark, which commemorates Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, has left her perch at Copenhagen harbor in almost 100 years.

"I have been looking forward to seeing her with my own eyes," said 56-year-old Zhang Zexiang, a construction worker at the Denmark Pavilion.

He said many of his co-workers had read or heard of Andersen's fairy tales when they were children.

"When we knew the pavilion will be the new home for the Little Mermaid, expectations and imagination became an impetus to work," he said.

The beloved "Little Mermaid" will stay in China for six months, when she will sit in a pool filled with water from the Copenhagen harbor at the Denmark Pavilion on the east bank of the Huangpu River in Shanghai.

Her presence in the pavilion will showcase a fairytale world for an estimated 70 million Expo visitors from around the globe from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Andersen's works were introduced to China in the early 1900s and are still widely read by Chinese children.

The fishtailed bronze statue is Denmark's most popular tourist attraction. Created by Danish sculpture Edvard Eriksen, the "Little Mermaid" has not moved from her harbor site since she was unveiled there in 1913.

A video installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will replace the "Little Mermaid" until she returns in November. The multimedia artwork will include a live broadcast of the statue in Shanghai.

In Andersen's tale, the mermaid is a sea king's daughter who falls in love with a prince and must wait 300 years to become human. It was turned into a Disney film in 1989.


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