A Familiar Face Back In Iowa: China's Vice President | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A Familiar Face Back In Iowa: China's Vice President

Play associated audio

When China's Vice President Xi Jinping heads to Iowa on Wednesday, he won't be a stranger.

In 1985, Xi visited the city of Muscatine as part of an agricultural trade mission. The delegation he was traveling with dined and slept in local homes and toured local businesses. He was also given a key to the city. And 27 years later, he'll be given another one.

Muscatine Mayor DeWayne Hopkins plans to present the key at a tea on Wednesday. The mayor tells All Things Considered host Robert Siegel that Xi will also be greeted by a group of Muscatine High School seniors who are studying Mandarin — a class that was inspired by the vice president's first visit.

"Twenty-seven years later, he remembers the manner in which he was treated and certainly requested a return visit to renew friendships with what's known as old friends at this point," Hopkins says.

The Only One With Two Keys

The vice president is one of the biggest names to ever appear in Muscatine, a city of 23,000 on the banks of the Mississippi River. He's only rivaled by former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, who visited in 1959.

"This equates somewhat to that," the mayor says, "but this visit has nothing to do with economics, it has nothing to do with politics, but it has everything to do with a sense of civility and saying 'Hi,' and shaking the hands of some old friends."

Hopkins says the vice president also has the special distinction of being the only person to receive two keys to the city.

"Presenting an individual a key to our city is a practice that was discontinued — I don't know exactly how long ago — but I had to search far and near into the depths of our city hall building to find a key," he says.

He describes it as solid brass and weighing about three-quarters of a pound. On the back, it's engraved, "Welcome back, Vice President Xi Jinping, 2012."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

It May Be 'Perfectly Normal,' But It's Also Frequently Banned

It's Perfectly Normal, a 20-year-old illustrated sex-ed book for kids, is meant to teach children about sexual health, puberty and relationships. It's one of the most banned books in America.
NPR

Syrup Induces Pumpkin-Spiced Fever Dreams

Hugh Merwin, an editor at Grub Street, bought a 63-ounce jug of pumpkin spice syrup and put it in just about everything he ate for four days. As he tells NPR's Scott Simon, it did not go well.
NPR

Man Caught At White House Is An Army Veteran

Omar J. Gonzales, the 42-year-old man who the Secret Service says ran onto the White House grounds and entered a door Friday night, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq.
NPR

Drivers, Passengers Say Uber App Doesn't Always Yield Best Routes

People love Uber, but they often complain the Uber app's built-in navigation doesn't give its drivers the best directions. The company says the app helps drivers and passengers travel efficiently.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.