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January 29, 2010

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Mayor wants locals at Expo to say, 'After you'

SHANGHAI Mayor Han Zheng wants all local citizens to contribute to a successful World Expo 2010.

Yesterday he gave some specifics on how to do that.

In a major address, he urged Shanghai residents to maintain public order, let out-of-towners take first crack at visiting the star-attraction China Pavilion, and be patient when waiting in lines.

Han spoke to deputies of the Shanghai People's Congress, the city's top legislative, at their annual session.

He urged Shanghai to learn from Beijing's people, whose contributions helped make a success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 60th anniversary celebration of the People's Republic of China.

"More concern, support and participation of Shanghai citizens are the key factors of whether the World Expo is successful or not," Han said.

He asked locals to avoid visiting the China Pavilion during the event to give more chances to visitors from other provinces and abroad, because the pavilion, while capable of receiving 50,000 people a day, can accommodate only one eighth of the estimated 400,000 expected to visit the Expo site every day.

Han suggested that locals visit the China Pavilion before the official opening, during the trial operation, or after the Expo's closing in October, when the pavilion will remain open to the public.

The Expo is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors. A reservation system will be set up for popular pavilions. But the organizer still expects long queues at some of them.

Han asked Shanghai people to be patient and orderly when waiting at popular pavilions and said it will be a test of the civility of Shanghai residents.

The mayor made the remarks after some lawmakers, in a panel discussion at the session, said they can stand to wait for no more than 30 minutes at the Expo.

Waiting for two or three hours is quite normal at World Expos, Han told the deputies.

In his speech, he denied a media report that 10 percent to 20 percent of the pavilions will be unprepared to receive visitors when the Expo is officially opened on May 1.

He said only a few countries' pavilions may open after the official starting date.

The mayor said the city government has fully considered traffic, accommodations and visitor transportation during the Expo.

Five Metro lines, more than 10 special routes and 90 buses will pass the Expo site.

Han assured locals the traffic situation will be much improved this year, with most construction projects completed.


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