It was to be expected that the World Fair in Shanghai would open with a spectacular display of fireworks. It did. For China this is its first world’s fair, a celebration of 189 nations that Communist Party leaders hope will showcase their country as a potent and peaceful world power.
As the Chinese character for peace flashed on a giant screen and Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Ode to Joy" wafted over the drowed, a flotilla of boats carried the flags of the attending nations down the Huangpu River.
After eight years of preparation, more than $50 billion of state investment and the biggest security operation in China since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, President Hu Jintao declared Expo 2010 Shanghai open at a ceremony held in a $270 million, riverfront sports arena and performing-arts center that is shaped like a flying saucer.
The Seattle Times reported that not everyone was delighted with all of the pavilions. Early reviews of U.S. efforts from the Chinese were mostly lukewarm. "There are too many corporate logos," said one visitor. "I thought the USA would have some brilliant and exciting stuff. … Except for buying some souvenirs, I can’t think of anything special about it."