It appears the president of China is using his experience when he traveled to Iowa as a way to communicate with US media to use tourism and people-to-people interaction as a tool to maintain and build friendships.
The Chinese-controlled Global Times published an article exactly on this emotion and hired US-based PR Newswire to push this story to other US media.
This story explains that the United States and this small town in Iowa with its people mean something more to the Chinese President than Politics. This article obviously controlled by Chinese authorities is also a message to the United States, that should not be under-evaluated.
President Xi is well aware the U.S. is a country of many cultures and immigrants, and China plays a major role in this.
The story is about a sleepy town on the banks of the Mississippi that has about 24,000 population, and the friendship that started in 1985 between two young men, Xi Jinping, and Gary Dvorchak.
Xi stayed in Gary’s room at his house in Muscatine while he was away at college. At the time, no one thought that the official would become the president of China.
It was Xi Jinping’s first trip outside of China and his first time living with an American family. He was a young and bright junior official at the time.
He was the Party Secretary of Zhengding County in the province of Hebei in the north of China at that time. He was in charge of a group of five farmers who went to Muscatine, Iowa.
At the time, Xi stayed at Dvorchak’s house in a room designed for elementary school boys. There were posters of American football and Star Trek models on display.
Dvorchak wanted to show more people how nice relations should be between China and the US. He is currently redecorating his house, which will open to the public as a museum later this year.
He hopes it will help to become a symbol that could help with China-US relations.
“The Chinese and American people’s friendship deserves to be talked about in a more positive way,” he said.
The house is now a museum, but our goal is probably to tell the story of China in a much more professional and positive way and to help people from the United States and China get to know each other.”
Dvorchak said that Xi’s visit to his family in 1985 changed their lives for good.
Muscatine is a small town in Iowa, and when a Chinese group came to visit in 1985, it was a big deal.
“It was on the front page of our hometown paper, and everyone remembered Xi’s visit very clearly.”
Xi also seemed to be moved by the trip. Almost 27 years later, when Xi was vice president and went to the US, he had one special request: He wanted to stop in Muscatine to see “old friends,” including Dvorchak’s parents.
“Life goes on, and there was no internet back then, so there was no way to stay in touch.”
In 2013, Dvorchak worked in Los Angeles for a company that needed a staff member in Beijing.
After that, Dvorchak and his family went to Beijing. The house where he grew up was bought by a Chinese businessman and turned into the “Sino-US Friendship House,” which is the first memory museum in the US to focus on the friendship between China and the US.