A group of Iowans, fondly referred to as "Old Friends" by Chinese VP Xi Jinping, will visit China on a whirlwind tour from May 29-June 5. The group is traveling to China at the invitation of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries under the office of VP Xi Jinping. They will visit various sites including the Great Wall of China. During their stay, they will participate in a reunion banquet with VP Xi Jinping.
In 1985 Iowa Sister States hosted VP Xi Jinping and four other agricultural experts from Iowa's sister state of Hebei Province as part of an agricultural exchange. He returned to Iowa in February of this year to revisit several of his "old friends", expressed his appreciation of the experience he had in Iowa, and to facilitate new joint efforts. Iowa and Hebei Province, PRC have had a sister state agreement since 1983. During those years, and even before, Chinese from Hebei Province have been visiting Iowa and participating in exchanges and programs. The "Old Friends" participating in this visit to China will be joined by Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham for a portion of the trip. Included in the visit will be an overnight stay in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province.