SHANGHAI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — “This is something else. This is really something else,” exclaimed Cate Rahmlow, director of the Wisconsin State’s Sector Strategy Development Corporation, when asked to describe the CIIE.
The China International Import Expo is a behemoth of an event. Housed in a clover-shaped mega-complex sprawling an area of over 1.27 million square meters, accommodating over 3,600 exhibitors, and representation from 172 countries, regions and international organizations all set against the backdrop of the metropolis of Shanghai.
The jaw-dropping pomp and pageantry accorded by the attending National Pavilions set the high-spirited tone of events which would unfurl over the entire span of the expo. Big and small countries, affluent and the less well-to-do all came together with one intent, and one intent alone, to sell their goods and services to the most populous country on this planet.
From the moment one passes through the high-tech enhanced-security gates, past the pulsating rhythms of Polynesian drums, to savor the wafting aroma of exquisite and exotic gastronomic delights, one cannot help but ask if they had accidentally meandered in paradise itself. All this, even before one even sets foot into the exhibition halls proper.
More than 400,000 visitors have traipsed into the gigantic halls over the past week, each one large enough to house a hypermarket or two. President Xi Jinping announced Monday that China’s imported goods and services were estimated to exceed 30 trillion U.S. dollars and 10 trillion dollars, respectively, in the next 15 years.
Then there’s the visual sensory feast. Being up close and personal with helicopters, luxury yachts, flying cars or the state-of-the-art animatronic robots performing a synchronized “song and dance” is enough to delight any “child whose ages range from 1-to-ninety two.”
Drifting from one hall to another over the last five days elicited more gasps, “oo’s” and “ah’s” than Disneyland. One visitor exclaimed, jokingly of course, the need to turn on their GPS just to navigate the labyrinth of exhibitors.
No fear, because in addition to the handing out hundreds of thousands of minutely-detailed maps, an energetic cadre of young multi-lingual volunteers decked in pin-striped scarlet blazers were ever ready to assist those who needed it. Standing in rain and in shine, their only desire was that you arrive at your intended destination.
The warm reception extended to CIIE visitors of all creed and color is reciprocal of the same warm reception extended to Admiral Zheng He over five hundred years ago, whose legendary reputation included sailing the mighty seas into distant faraway lands. Those faraway lands, however, are today no longer distant, but have become near and dear brothers instead. The airplane has brought us close. The internet has brought us even closer.
This closeness allows unfettered mutual understanding of each other, blazing trails in the sciences, in cultures, information and trade, which in turn allows for the reduction and eventually the possibility of the elimination of poverty, sickness and disease around the globe.
The breadth, depth, scale and magnitude of the CIIE signifies the readiness of China to forge ahead with open arms alongside her partners into the future.
A bright future where a fully-realized globalized world would be void of ethnocentrism, prejudices and selfishness. In its place, the appreciation of the fact that we all share this planet together. It is this togetherness which will shape the tomorrow which our next generation, and their descendants will one day call their “today.” China eagerly looks forward to that moment.