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November 3, 2009

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Provinces offer tradition with a twist in pavilions

PEOPLE tend to think of emperors, china, silk, ink painting and dragons when talking about China. Their minds will also be challenged with marvelous pavilions, three-dimensional movies, high technology and robots when anticipating the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Then what will happen when traditional Chinese elements meet modern techniques at the World Expo?

The answer can be found at the joint pavilion for the 31 provinces and municipalities from China's mainland at next year's Shanghai Expo.

Twenty-four provinces and municipalities unveiled their Expo exhibition plans at a conference in Shanghai among national participants last Tuesday, giving a preview of Chinese interpretations of high technology.

Robots made to resemble Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and his consort Yang Yuhuan will welcome visitors to the Shaanxi Province pavilion.

Jiangxi Province, famous for its Jingdezhen porcelain, will present its pavilion as a huge blue-and-white porcelain bowl and cup, with multimedia screens introducing the province's achievements.

An artificial elephant will raise its trunk to welcome visitors by saying "hello" in Yunnan dialect to the southwestern Yunnan Province pavilion.

Lotuses will be displayed in the grounds of the Anhui Province pavilion with crabs and fish swimming to and fro, making visitors feel as if they are walking on a pond in Chinese countryside.

People also will feel they are travelling to the ancient China and landing on a street from the Tang Dynasty or a small village in Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420-589).

People will encounter a golden imperial palace at the Shaanxi pavilion, which is a structure in the Tang Dynasty style to lead visitors on a journey through time to explore the history and prosperity of Chang'an, the ancient capital.

The background of walls and gardens of the palace will change with LED screens. People will feel as if they are sitting along a river in summer but suddenly see the water freeze.

Some terracotta soldiers will also be exhibited as the "treasure of the pavilion."

Central China's Hunan Province has decided to recreate Taohuayuan (The Land of Peach Blossoms) - inspired by the masterpiece "Peach Blossom Spring" - a Utopian village dreamed of by Chinese scholars 1,000 years ago.

The domestic pavilions will also be a feast for gourmets. Many people would love to get the chance to taste all Chinese cuisines, and that can be easily realized in the joint pavilion.

People will also be able to sample milk tea from the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Moutai liquor from southwest Guizhou Province.

A spicy Sichuan hot pot will be constantly on the boil at southwest Sichuan Province's pavilion.

Moreover, the organizer will build a Chinese cuisine street beside the China Pavilion where traditional snacks and food from China will be sold to visitors, said Hong Hao, director of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

The northeastern Heilongjiang Province will offer visitors a chance to explore a dream-like icy city to show how it is possible to live well amid ice and snow and in harmony with nature. Its theme will be "Ice and Snow Make Us Extraordinary."

The southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region exhibition will have the theme "Green Homeland, Blue Dream" and feature copper drums, embroidered xiuqiu, or a ball made of rolled silk, the scenery of Lijiang River, the terraces of Longji Village and a mangrove forest.

The southern Hainan Province's exhibition will show the island as a tourist haven - and a great place to live.

The joint pavilion will be around the China Pavilion, known as the "Crown of the East," with the 24 solar terms being printed on the facade. The terms are written in zuan style, an ancient calligraphy used in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), to highlight the Chinese elements.

Each province will have 600-square-meter exhibition areas and a rectangular plot to build their pavilions on. Every four pavilions will be combined into a unit. They will sit back to back.

The pavilions will be ordered according to a list made by the State Council, or the country's cabinet.

Visitors will first see the Beijing and Tianjin pavilions. Being the host city of the event, the Shanghai pavilion will be the last to be visited near the exit.

A 6- to 8-meter-wide walkway will be built among the pavilions.

All the pavilions must be at least 7 meters lower than the joint pavilion.

They shall not build their own air conditioners as a central air system will keep the temperature at 24 degree Celsius.


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