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February 26, 2010

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It's all systems go for Expo as security becomes top priority

THE success of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo depends on the implementation of state-of-the-art security - and that line is official.

Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng made the observation yesterday as a two-day meeting of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China concluded.

"Security is the top concern to ensure a successful World Expo," he said. "We need help from all people as well as government offices to largely tighten up security efforts."

Five rounds of citywide drills, focusing on testing transport and security systems, will begin on April 20 as the Expo started its "trial run" leading up to showtime on May 1, Yu said.

The trial run will allow time to make improvements and rectify any possible flaws, he said.

It will involve operations inside the exhibition zone as well as testing all Expo support systems citywide.

Yu called on city residents and officials for an all-out effort to ensure both the safety and success of an event in the global spotlight.

He urged city departments to make use of the remaining time to complete more "on-the-scene and in-depth" investigations to solve problems.

Officials said the city would offer assistance to foreign authorities if requested to help them complete pavilions in time for the opening.

Hong Hao, director of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said yesterday most of the Chinese exhibition halls and theme display areas and half the foreign pavilions would be ready for the trial run.

About 400,000 visitors are expected to visit the Expo sites on both sides of the Huangpu River each day. About 40,000 volunteers would be on hand in Expo zones daily and by end of the event more than 100,000 would have offered their services, officials said.

Yu also said at the Party meeting that the city government may send a free Expo ticket to each family of Shanghai residents in gratitude for their Expo support. This would cover about 6 million households in the city.

A second proposal being considered, he said, was to send free tickets to all family members relocated because of Expo projects.

The proposals are still under discussion and required formal government approval.

He said the Expo opening ceremony will be an exercise in precision, encompassing a 20-minute indoor ceremony to go with a 30-minute outdoor performance including fireworks and a theme lighting display.

Yu also said that it would be up to the State Council, China's Cabinet, to decide whether some exhibition structures and contents inside Expo zones could be relocated after the event.

Some out-of-town governments and local suburban districts have expressed strong interest in having Expo items moved to their localities.


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