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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Xi helps American dreams come true

By Hu Meidong, Tan Zongyang and Zhou Wa (China Daily)

10:52, February 15, 2012

FUZHOU - Former official Chu Yanli was confused - she had never before been asked to receive a civilian guest from the United States.

It was 1992, and the request came from Xi Jinping, the former Party secretary of Fuzhou.

As a former official for foreign affairs in Fuzhou, Fujian province, Chu was put in charge of managing the six-day itinerary of a woman she had never met.

That woman was Elizabeth Johnson Gardner, a 76-year-old widow whose husband's last wish had been to visit Fuzhou's Guling, where he had spent his childhood.

Thanks to Xi's invitation, she was able to carry out that wish on his behalf.

"I am really very lucky, and this trip means a lot to us," Gardner said on her visit to Fuzhou, according to Wu Qimin, a journalist from the People's Daily.

"I will tell my friends in California and the United Kingdom about my experience."

To show her gratitude, Gardner presented Xi with a pair of traditional Chinese vases with lacquer painting, which her husband had kept for years.

"The vases will be collected by the Fuzhou Museum, to remember the friendship they represent," Xi was quoted as saying.

In return, Xi also gave Gardner a pair of vases.

Gardner spent two nights in Guling, a centuries-old resort that helped her husband avoid the summer heat and left him with beautiful childhood memories - and was a name he murmured even when he lay dying in 1986.

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