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Reliving the memory of Shanghai Expo part III: English world highlights

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)    16:11, July 01, 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

10 years ago, the six-month grand pageant allowed the world to witness an open, prosperous and modern China. Spectacular exhibitions provided global audiences with boundless enlightenment and enjoyment, during which China and other countries showcased their cultures and strengths.

10 years on, the Shanghai Expo site has now become a popular tourist attraction in the city. Some of the buildings created for the expo, such as the China Art Museum and River Mall, have become the main venues for hosting major cultural events.

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true when it comes to describing the modernity, vitality and beauty of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Although most of the pavilions have now been removed from the formerly magnificent Expo Park, this three-part series will attempt to construct, through both pictures and words, an "online World Expo", on which the curtain will never drop.

The last part focuses on the national pavilions of the four major English-speaking countries - the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

USA Pavilion: A small-time movie theatre

The USA Pavilion at night (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

Just like the fanciful Spain Pavilion, the USA Pavilion left one of the deepest impressions on this journalist at the Expo Park. The difference, however, was that the impression left by this pavilion, which resembled a small-time cinema, lay at the other end of the spectrum.

Behind all the hype, what this journalist saw with his own eyes in the pavilion decorated with Stars and Stripes was mediocre, to say the least.

While the Spain Pavilion impressed visitors with its "flamenco beauty", the Germany Pavilion stood out with its sophisticated innovations, and the Italy Pavilion featured a memorable combination of fashion and classics, what awaited Expo-goers waiting in long lines outside the entrance gate of the USA Pavilion was one low-budget "Hollywood blockbuster" after another.

The interior of the USA Pavilion looked like a small movie theatre. (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

The pavilion, which could best be described as a small-time movie theatre, consisted of four short films shown in four halls.

The first video featured non-actors on city streets being coached on basic greetings and welcome messages in Mandarin, while spectators stood or sat on the floor. The scene was a bit chaotic, and several negative comments were heard in the audience.

When the lengthy eight-minute "overture" was over, people were ushered into a second, larger room with seats for the next show, which featured Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton delivering a by-the-book message of general international goodwill.

The most impressive feature of the USA Pavilion, if one could call it that, was the third and last show - The Garden. This so-called “4-D movie”, which was a combination of mist, lighting, vibrating seats and a large screen, depicted a little girl's quest to turn a run-down city lot into an urban oasis. The scenario was unimaginative, but the manner in which the film was presented and its catchy song left a positive impression on this music-loving journalist.

By the time the three movies were over, you found yourself at the end of this "unforgettable US tour".

UK Pavilion: An outstanding emblem of Britain

The beautiful UK pavilion symbolizes friendship between China and the UK. (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

The eye-catching dandelion-like UK Pavilion was billed as an "outstanding emblem of Britain" showcasing the nation’s modern, creative and innovative sides to the world. It was designed as a dramatic demonstration of UK innovation and creativity.

The eye-catching dandelion-like UK Pavilion (Photo: Li Zhenyu)

The walkways and the seed cathedral, together with the surrounding landscape park area, provided a story rich in content that brought together the UK's past and present, and demonstrated the leading role it has played in architecture, biodiversity and science and technology.

Canada Pavilion: A rich Canadian experience

The Canada Pavilion at night (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

Canada, the multi-cultural nation that is home to many Chinese immigrants, offered visitors a rich Canadian experience in its national pavilion at the Shanghai Expo Park.

Inside the Canada Pavilion (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

The splendor of the Canada Pavilion, featuring short films, art work and interactive elements, symbolised the nation's economic power and pride.

Australia Pavilion: Incorporating Australian life

The facade of the Australia Pavilion (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

Making history by constructing the biggest pavilion ever, Australia, the sixth largest country in the world, strongly showcased its creativity, innovation and achievement in its National Pavilion.

Featuring sculptured curving walls and a red ochre exterior, the Australia Pavilion incorporated many aspects of Australian life.

Interior of the Australia Pavilion (File photo: Li Zhenyu)

Following the showings from the USA, UK and Canada Pavilions, the Australia Pavilion was a masterpiece by another major English-speaking country that could not be ignored.

10 years ago, China realized its century-old dream of hosting the World Expo, the first held in a developing country in the event's 169-year history. Although the curtain has long since fallen on the magnificent 184-day carnival, the legacy will live on and inspire us to continue to live the Chinese dream.


Reliving the memory of Shanghai Expo part I: The Chinese elements

Reliving the memory of Shanghai Expo part II: Euro Square highlights


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