Muscatine gets visit from China’s delegation to celebrate 30-year friendship

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The city of Muscatine, Iowa welcomed visitors from China on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of an Iowan friendship with Hebei Province.

The group met at a gallery located at 129 W. Second Street.

The visit marked another milestone in the deepening relationship between Muscatine and the city of Zhending.

A relationship that began in 1986 after China's president Xi Jinping visited Muscatine.

Guests toured the gallery, which displayed a public exhibition of Bai Runzhang's art work.

Runzhang, an international artist, gifted more than 100 pieces of art work to the gallery.

"How I feel about my return, I feel like a homecoming, coming back to my second home," said Runzhang.

Runzhang visited Muscatine 28 years ago, as he accompanied president Xi Jinping to learn about farming and agriculture.

Last year the president returned to Muscatine to meet with his friends.

"They invited all the people they met in 1986 to come to this reception, last year, that group's now known as the old friends of Xi Jingpin," said Communication Director, Keith Porter.

Keith says because of the Iowa-Hebei sister-state relationship, both countries get to experience a culture outside of their own.

"We have a teacher here in Muscatine, that Zhending sent to the U.S. and we are going to send a teacher back there, we're gonna do this teacher exchange," said Porter.

The delegation departs for Des Moines after a day of activities and tours in Muscatine.