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Chinese Show Strong Interest in Outside World at Expo

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Long queues around almost each pavilion, frequent flashes from cameras and acclaims for outdoor art performances -- these are often seen and heard at the ongoing World Expo, which ends on Oct. 31.

Observers here believe that these scenes indicate the Chinese people were eager to understand and appreciate different cultures and lifestyles from throughout the world.

The Shanghai World Expo 2010, which began on May 1 with "Better City, Better Life" as its theme, also has tolerance of diverse cultures as one of its sub-themes.

Many Chinese visitors to the World Expo see viewing exhibitions at the Expo Garden as a sort of "global tour" without actually going abroad.

Liu Yigeng, who works in research and development at an environmental instrument manufacturing company in Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province, was interested in items at the Japanese Pavilion, such as a robot which plays violin and an environmental-friendly vehicle that runs even with the driver in a lying posture.

Wang Yinchuan, from the southwestern province of Guizhou, was also impressed by the professionalism and the team spirit in management at the Japanese Pavilion, from which he thought the Chinese should learn.

Wang Chengkun, who works for the local procuratorate in Quzhou City of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, visited the World Expo for the second time and eventually was able to see the German Pavilion, which he had had long admired.

He said he was surprised by a revolving metal sphere, which was three meters in diameter and covered with LEDs. The sphere is activated by the noise and movements of spectators.

And He Yu, an IT software engineer from Beijing, said he really revered and appreciated the strictness and scrupulousness in precision instrument manufactured by Germany, which are embodied in the exhibits at the German Pavilion.

Wang Jianqing, a retiree from Shaoxing of Zhejiang, visited the Expo Garden with his daughters, sons and grandson.

Wang considers the British Pavilion very unique, which is dubbed the Seed Cathedral. It was built with more than 60,000 acrylic rods. And in each of the rods there was placed at least one seed. It has been learned that the seeds will be distributed to schools around China, which Wang saw as an educational move for environmental awareness.

Tu Zengcheng, who deals in the sanitary equipment trade in Shanghai, showed interest in the concept plants displayed at the British Pavilion, such as a plant that can combat burglaries and another plant that can detect metal.

Tu said he was deeply impressed by the marvelous ideas. "The imagination behind the ideas are respectable," he said.

Wang Weigang, a teacher from Jiaxing of Zhejiang, visited the United Pavilion of African Countries with his 10-year-old daughter.

He said African nations boasted unique cultures, and people there were talented in singing, dancing and arts and crafts.

His daughter, Wang Zi, said she fell in love with lions and giraffes in Africa when she viewed exhibits at the pavilion and decided she would visit them when she grows up.

Inside the Tunisia Pavilion there is a craftsman who makes 200-300 10-cm-tall pottery jars every day, and each visitor is asked to pay 20 yuan (US$2.98) to purchase a jar, according to a staff member of the pavilion. They have sold well among Chinese visitors.

The small pottery jar also interested Wang Nana, a college student majoring in chemistry in Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang. She even paid an extra 10 yuan for having the Arabic spelling of both her name and that of her boyfriend engraved on the surface of the jar.

Though small, the Bangladesh section at the United Pavilion of Asian Countries usually attracts many visitors, as it offers services in body paintings with special local pigments. Three young Bangladesh men painted designs with local characteristics on the hands and feet of about 90 Chinese visitors a day.

Many Chinese visitors were attracted by the Persian carpets at the Iran Pavilion. The exquisite carpets, woven with silk and wool, are priced from 10,000 yuan to several million yuan.

According to Wang Ming, who works at the pavilion, they sell 10 to 15 Persian carpets each day, and have even sold nearly 10 carpets which were valued at more than one million yuan each.

Observers said the enthusiasm of Chinese visitors to the World Expo not only symbolized their increasing desire for more knowledge about the outside world, but also embodied their respect and appreciation for diverse cultures and civilizations around the world. They hoped to embrace the outside world with such respect and tolerance and to become citizens of the world in the 21st century.

Dr. Awni Behnam, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner General, Expo 2010, said, "The World Expo helps us to learn, not fear our differences or jealously guard our achievements, but share and mutually support our common goals in the pursuit of happiness as individuals and societies."

The World Expo in Shanghai has registered almost 60 million visitors since opening.

(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2010)

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