Muscatine welcomes Chinese mayor for first sister cities anniversary

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Muscatine welcomed an old friend for a visit Saturday morning.

Mayor Yang Lizhong from Zhengding County in China visited Muscatine to celebrate the one year anniversary of the sister city relationship between the two cities.

Yang and Muscatine Mayor DeWayne Hopkins traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this week for the national Sister Cities Conference and toured the capitol. Hopkins said he and Yang have quickly become close friends.

"Each time he comes to Muscatine, each time I get to go to his community, we learn more and more about each other and our culture and our arts, and most of all our people," said Hopkins.

Yang said returning to Muscatine was something he had been looking forward to for a long time.

"I would say it is just like a family. I know them as a person, I know their individualities, and these kinds of exchanges, we can exchange our thoughts and [our] ideas and plan to further our friendship," Yang said.

Both mayors met on Saturday at the Muscatine History and Industry Center to talk about ways to strengthen the ties between countries and better serve the youth through more exchange programs.

"He cares about his people. We also care about our children, and our grandchildren, and their children; and the grassroots relationships we feel is what prevents world war," said Hopkins.

Both mayors exchanged gifts and toured the gallery next door that displayed photographs and artwork from previous exchanges. Yang returned to China Saturday evening.