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December 31, 2010

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Star Expo attractions to remain

Five foreign national pavilions at the Expo 2010, including the star-attraction Saudi Arabia Pavilion, will remain in Shanghai and reopen to the public soon, a senior Expo organizer said yesterday.

The Saudi Arabia, France, Spain, Italy and Russia pavilions at the Expo site in the Pudong New Area have been presented to China, Ding Hao, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said. Plans for their reopening plan had yet to be decided.

The buildings, each more than 6,000 square meters, were among the largest, and the most popular, at the Expo. Visitors queued for many hours to gain entry.

The official in charge of Expo construction said that though the pavilions could not remain permanently, they could be kept for up to 50 years.

However, the original exhibitions will go. Under consideration is a plan to turn the buildings into studios for artists or as venues for other exhibitions.

On the Puxi site, at least 15 of the 20 corporate pavilions are to remain, but all the exhibits have been removed.

The Urban Best Practices Area will also remain as a showcase for good urban development as all its 80 exhibitors from cities around the world had agreed to leave their pavilions there, Huang Jianzhi, another deputy director of the bureau, said.

Foreign pavilions should be dismantled after each World Expo, according to the International Exposition Bureau, governing body of World Expos, but Shanghai Party chief Yu Zhengsheng has said the city could make exceptions.

Yu said previously that many countries had expressed hope that their pavilions would be kept in the city.

Other structures to remain are five built by the organizer - the China Pavilion, Expo Center, Theme Pavilions, Culture Center and Expo Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the demolition of other pavilions is ongoing.

More than half the Japan Pavilion has been removed. The United Kingdom Pavilion is now a bald cube after the 8,000 transparent acrylic rods that covered it were removed.

The Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Poland and Austria pavilions have all been torn down.

Most of other pavilions had yet to start dismantling.

The Expo featured more than 250 pavilions, including 50 bigger ones.

"The organizer has asked foreign participants to slow down demolition work to avoid turning the site into a construction site," said Ding.

Nine roads at the site, including Shibo Avenue, the main route on the Pudong side, will open to public from next week, according to Shanghai TV News.

However, wire fences and concrete walls have been set up around most pavilions to prevent public access.

Shanghai's Vice Mayor Yang Xiong said previously the Expo site will become a place for cultural exchanges, high-level exhibitions and public spaces for citizens.


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