The world’s biggest ever Expo has opened in China. After years of preparation Shanghai 2010 kicked off with a lavish show of fireworks and lights.
Seen as further proof of the Chinese dragons growing power, President Hu Jintao was on hand to get proceedings underway.
Almost 200 countries are in Shanghai to showcase their culture. Many of which are housed in pavilions, frequently featuring eyepoping architecture.
The theme of this year’s multi-billion euro event is sustainable development. A timely issue in a country increasingly aware of the environmental cost of industrialisation.
A host of celebrities, including Italian Opera star Andrea Bocelli sang at the gala. A string of world leaders and France’s first couple were also present.
An estimated 70 million visitors, mostly Chinese, are expected to see the Expo in the next six months and tight security is in place to protect them from harm.
Dissidents have claimed the Expo’s launch has resulted in a major crackdown on dissent in a city where the slogan is a ‘‘Better City, Better Life.’‘
Despite that controversy, it was difficult to argue with the spectacle itself, which was simply breathtaking.