Top legislator Wu Bangguo started a timer Friday for the year-long countdown to the Shanghai World Expo at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing.
Wu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said at a ceremony that the government would spare no effort in preparation for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and the country looked forward to experiencing technological advances and sharing the achievements of human civilization with friends from across the world.
Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo (R) applauds after starting a year-long countdown timer installed at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing, capital of China, for the Shanghai World Expo to be held on May 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
He said the World Expo had proved during its more than 150-yearhistory to play an important, unique role in promoting world economic and technological development.
The Expo could also help promote the development of civilizations and cultures, he said.
China's business hub, Shanghai, won a bid to host the 2010 World Expo in 2002. The Expo will be on stage from May 1 to Oct. 31 next year.
So far more than 230 countries, regions and international organizations have confirmed that they would participate in the Expo, which will use the theme of "Better City, Better Life".
The countdown timer was installed at the east side of the square, where a similar timer once counted down the days to the Beijing Olympic Games. After the Expo opens, the timer will display the daily number of visitors.
Wu said the Expo would help increase exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.
Photo taken on May 1, 2009 shows the year-long countdown timer installation ceremony at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing, capital of China, for the Shanghai World Expo to be held on May 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
Based on the Expo's theme, the event would provide an opportunity for all participants to demonstrate methods of city planning and development and environmentally friendly lifestyles for sustainable development, he said.
The top legislator also said that a successful, splendid and memorable World Expo was a promise made by the Chinese government and people.
Shanghai's Communist Party chief, Yu Zhengsheng, who is also the vice-chairman of the Expo's organizing committee, said at the ceremony that the fair would be another international event in China after the Beijing Olympic Games, for which all preparations went smoothly.
The Expo would also be a safe and frugal event, Yu added.