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July 20, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright July 20, 2009. Used by permission.


Last November, we ran a little preview of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, pointing you to a few readings about this big “coming distraction.” Last week the US finally committed to attend the Expo, prompting a new round of Expo stories around the web.

1. It’s pretty unusual for the U.S. to land on any world list between San Marino and Andorra, but that’s its position on the Expo sign-up sheet, asreported by the AFP:

The United States signed up Friday the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, officials said, making it the last major country with diplomatic ties to China to join the event…

Fundraising difficulties had threatened to prevent the US from building a pavilion for the Expo but organisers said they got a boost from donations in the past two months from Pepsi, General Electric and KFC owner Yum! Brands…

The US is the latest country to sign up after San Marino, the world’s smallest city state.

The Western European principality of Andorra is now the sole Expo holdout among countries with diplomatic relations to China, according to Expo organisers.

2. As the Wall Street Journal notes in their report on the last-minute fundraisingfor the US pavilion, financial woes wouldn’t serve as a sufficient excuse for an American absence:

Clearly, the global financial crisis hasn’t made it easy for U.S. firms put their hands in their pockets, particularly considering there are better ways to use their advertising budgets. However unintentional, thought, the absence of the world’s largest economy from next year’s event would inevitably be perceived as a slight by the Chinese organizers. “An undercurrent of ill-will” is what Frank Lavin, former commerce department official and chairman of the USA Pavilion steering committee, predicted when he spoke to The Journal back in April.