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September 26, 2012

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Park slated to display sister-city sculptures

SHANGHAI will build a park along the Huangpu River to display sculptures presented as gifts from its sister cities around the world, city officials said yesterday.

Construction will begin by the end of the year on the 100-hectare Shanghai International Friendly Cities Park in Pudong's Qiantan area, Xu Lin, Party secretary of the Pudong New Area, said yesterday.

Jiang Liang, director of Pudong, said: "We hope to make the park as attractive as Millennium Park in Chicago and Hyde Park in London."

He added that the park will open free to the public within two years.

Shanghai has 71 sister cities in 52 countries including Chicago, Casablanca and Barcelona. It has received about 20 major sculptures and other gifts from these cities, said Wu Jinlan, director of the Coordination Committee of Sister Cities, who initially advised the government to build the park.

Wu said it was an international convention to give sculptures showcasing cultural characteristics to sister cities.

Barcelona, for instance, presented a Gaudi dragon replica, a centerpiece fountain sculpture at Parc Guell Park, to Shanghai in 2009. Hamburg shipped three "Blue Doors," a modern installation, to the Bund in 2006.

"Many of the sculptures have been stored in warehouses although most have diplomatic and artistic value," Wu said. Only a few were on public display, but they were scattered around Shanghai and that made them less noticeable, she added.

The park in Qiantan will also be a platform for international cultural exchanges and hosting ceremonies between Shanghai and sister cities.

The park will include a 2-kilometer stretch of greenery along the Huangpu River. The sculptures and other exhibits will be placed in this area.

Dao Shuming, director of the Shanghai Tourism Bureau, said some indoor areas will be another highlight as these will allow foreign tourists to learn about Chinese flower arranging or mulan boxing, a popular local exercise.

Meanwhile, supermarkets, top international schools and hospitals will be built near the park.

There are plans for basketball courts and fields for American football, baseball and cricket, according to the Shanghai Planning and Land Resources Bureau.


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