Stories of state gifts to Xi: 30 years of friendship between Xi, people in U.S. bears witness to China-U.S. exchanges

(People's Daily Online) 13:36, May 25, 2023

On April 8, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping received a photo album from his American friends at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. The photo album, "Commemorating 30 Years of Friendship,” was presented by Eleanor and Thomas Dvorchak of the state of Iowa.

A photo album Chinese President Xi Jinping received from his old friends from the U.S. state of Iowa, Eleanor and Thomas Dvorchak, in April 2015. (Photo/Hu Yang)

The album holds six pictures that show Xi's two visits to the U.S. in 1985 and 2012.

Xi first visited Iowa in the spring of 1985, when he worked as Party secretary in Zhengding county, north China's Hebei Province.

He was heading an agricultural delegation to Iowa. During the three-day visit in Muscatine, Iowa, Xi, for the first time, communicated with American people face to face. He lived in the house of the Dvorchaks during his stay.

Back then, China and the U.S. had just begun engaging in mutual exchanges, and people of the two countries were keen to know about each other.

During the three-day stay, the delegation visited elderly people in the local community, attended a birthday party, had six interviews with local media outlets and attended five welcome banquets held by the U.S. side.

Photo taken on Feb. 15, 2012 shows Xi Jinping (3rd R, front), then Chinese Vice President, joined dozens of Americans for tea at a local house owned by his old friend Sarah Lande (3rd, L) in Muscatine, Iowa, the United States. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Xi's second visit to Muscatine was in February 2012, when he was vice president of China. He walked in snow and rain to meet his friends amid a tight schedule. Xi's old friend, Eleanor Dvorchak, traveled more than 1,000 miles to meet him. Details of their interaction 27 years ago were still fresh in Xi's memory.

Xi told his old friends, "You are the first group of American friends I got to know."

Xi was among the first Chinese friends they got to know. They had been uncertain about what Chinese people were like, and after they came to know about Xi, their negative views of Chinese people were removed, according to Eleanor Dvorchak.

Affinity between peoples is the foundation of state-to-state relations. Xi attaches great importance to people-to-people bonds. He was always able to engage in extensive communication with people from various circles of society and ordinary people despite having tight diplomatic schedules.

In May 2022, Xi replied to a letter from Sarah Lande, a friend of his in Iowa.

"The Chinese and American people are both great people and our friendship is not only a valuable asset, but also an important foundation for the development of bilateral relations," he wrote.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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