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A Humble House Witnessing Sino-U.S. Friendship

By Chen Shen (People's Daily Online)    04:29, September 18, 2015
A Humble House Witnessing Sino-U.S. Friendship
Ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 2911 Bonnie Drive in Muscatine, Iowa, for Sino-US friendship. (Photo by Ren Jianmin)

On the morning of Sept. 17, a nice simple ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 2911 Bonnie Drive in Muscatine, Iowa.

Prior to Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit, the mayor of Muscatine had announced that this house, where President Xi once resided during his visit to the region in 1985, would be a Sino-U.S. Friendship House open to the public free of charge.

Mayor of Muscatine DeWayne Hopkins, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago Zhao Weiping, community delegate and son of the then house owner Gary Dvorchak cut the ribbons together on the ceremony.

Back in May 1985 when Xi stayed with an Iowan family as part of a delegation learning about modern agricultural techniques, he was serving in his first official career posting in Zhengding County. It was President Xi's first visit to the U.S., which he later recalled had left a deep impression on him. In 2012, then Vice President Xi Jinping returned to Muscatine to visit the "old friends" he met during his 1985 visit.

Delegate from the local community Ms. Joni Axel recalled when President Xi visited Muscatine in 1985, the local government couldn't afford all Chinese delegates' lodging.Thus President Xi was arranged to stay with the Dvorchaks for two nights.

The Sino-U.S. Friendship House is an average American one-story home, with three bedrooms and a walkout basement. The interior and garden were renovated before the openning.

In the small bedroom where President Xi once stayed,photos taken in 1985 featuring his visit were hanged on wall.The bedroom belonged to Gary Dvorchak, who said his elder brother and him were in college when President Xi first visited in 1985. The family thus had spare rooms to accomodate President Xi. "The furniture and layout of the room haven't been changed ever since. The kitchen and the living room were all the same as that time," said Dvorchak, "however, as you can see. My room is tiny and President Xi was staying with his translator together in this tiny room, which appalled me when I later knew that. Because my brother's room was also availabe to stay." Dvorchak continued introducing his room, "the walls were covered with posters of my favourite football stars. The carpet was light green, which was different from now."

A typical midwestern American town, Muscatine's majority of white residents had limited knowledge of foreign countries. Wang Jun, Chinese entrepreneur and founder of China Window, recollected how the local residents used to learn about China from news, which was not 100 percent accurate. President Xi's visit has brought special connections between Muscatine people and China in town. People now know much more about China.

In April 2013, at President Xi’s suggestion, Muscatine entered into a sister city relationship with Zhengding County, China. During October of 2013, Muscatine once again welcomed visitors from Iowa’s sister state Hebei Province to celebrate the 30 years of Iowa and Hebei’s sister state relationship. Students from Muscatine were invited to China in Summer Vacations. A Muscatine Center showcasing Midwestern American history and culture was opened in Jinan, Shandong Province months ago.

Dvorchak, who worked as an investment banker, quit his job and moved to Beijing with his family two years ago. He now serves on broad in a U.S. company specializing in assiting Chinese firms developing in the U.S. "It's unbelievable that a young man lived in this home is now the leader of the world's greatest power," said Dvorchak.

According to Consul General Zhao Weiping, the Sino-U.S. Friendship House is the first in the U.S. memorizing the friendship between China and the U.S.. It showcases American folk's affinity to President Xi and the Chinese people. 


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Luxiao Zou,Bianji)

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