By Takanori Kato
SHANGHAI - During the first rehearsal held Tuesday for the Shanghai World Expo, a number of venders around the venue were selling fake copies of the event's official mascot, Haibao.
The rehearsal for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, which opens on May 1, came on the heels of a stir that arose when the promotional song composed for the event was found to have been likely plagiarized from a song written by a Japanese singer-songwriter.
Outside the venue, a 71-year-old woman from Shandong Province, who was displaying dolls and badges on the ground, said: "They're selling well from the first day. It's impossible to fully control [the sales of fake copies]. During the Beijing Olympics, I earned 20,000 yuan (S$4,018) by selling fake goods. As the Shanghai Expo will continue much longer, I may make even more."
About 200,000 people, including those involved in the construction of the expo venue and former residents who were moved out for the event, took part in the rehearsal to take a look around at the venue.
Four more rehearsals are planned, in which up to 500,000 people may participate.
The city was put on a high security alert Tuesday with a large number of armed police officers deployed around subway stations.
Security was also tight at the entrance of the venue as visitors had to go through strict checks.
This caused some visitors to wait for more than an hour to get in.
Prohibited items included drinks and flammable materials, as well as banners, out of concerns that antigovernment activities might occur.