Shanghai is seeking to host the 2007 summer games of the Special Olympics in a bid to show a kinder and gentler face of China. 'Holding the Special Olympics is aimed at making the host city a more civilised place,' said Shi Derong, head of Shanghai's Civil Affairs Bureau, who announced the proposal. Shanghai also is bidding to stage the 2010 World Expo to showcase the city's economic progress. Staging the Special Olympics would present a complimentary image of the city, according to Mr Shi. 'This shows the Government's concern for the handicapped and it also has the added benefit of helping us create a civil society,' he said. The city expects to spend about US$30 million (HK$234 million) on the event in a bid that already has received the support of the State Council. Funding is expected to come from government, corporate sponsors and public contributions. An inspection team from the International Special Olympic Games Committee arrives in Shanghai on Wednesday to review the city's proposals. Mr Shi said Shanghai Vice-Mayor Feng Guoqing also would make a special presentation on Shanghai's bid in London on April 23. New York is among other cities hoping to stage the event. Mr Shi said staging the games would boost the nation's handicapped athletes. The Special Olympics were launched in the United States by the Joseph Kennedy Foundation in 1968 as a sports organisation dedicated to people with learning disabilities. They are held every four years and are separate from the Paralympics held after the Summer Olympics. The group says on its Web site that it serves more than one million mentally handicapped people in more than 50 countries. Dublin is set to stage the organisation's 11th summer games next year. Mr Shi said Shanghai had steadily deepened its commitment to the event over the past 16 years. In 1986, a Special Olympics committee was established. China says it has 60 million handicapped people, 12 million of whom are mentally handicapped.