I’m thrilled that next Wednesday I will have a chance to see and hear China’s next president, Xi Jinping, in Washington:

At the invitation of Vice President Joseph Biden, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will visit Washington, D.C. in mid-February. He will give a major policy address on Sino-American relations at a luncheon co-hosted by the National Committee and the US-China Business Council, along with several cooperating organizations, and attended by approximately 600 business leaders, policymakers, heads of cultural and civic organizations, current and former American government officials, and Chinese officials. The luncheon is by invitation only.

via Luncheon in Honor of Vice President Xi Jinping | NCUSCR.

As you’ll see from these stories Xi has become very much aware of Iowa, a Midwestern state where the first US presidential caucuses are held. Our election process is a strange one, but my son Tom loves the attention paid to Iowa because he went to college there and came to love it. My mother grew up in Iowa and I spent part of my first 10 summers there, so I am fond of it, and glad that Xi knows Iowa, too. His father also visited Iowa, as you can see from the story below, which draws on the amazing photographs collected by the National Committee on US-China Relations:

 Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the man expected to become China’s top leader in the fall, will be presented with an unusual gift on his visit to Washington next week – an album of photographs taken during his father’s only visit to the U.S., back in 1980.

They show his father, Xi Zhongxun, leading a delegation of provincial leaders on a tour of New York, Washington, Iowa, Colorado, California and Hawaii, according to the National Committee on United States-China Relations, which organized that trip and will present the album.

One shows the elder Xi – a revolutionary hero — wearing a flower garland in Hawaii, where he was persuaded to don a hula skirt and “shake his bottom a bit” according Jan Berris, Vice President of the Committee, who accompanied the delegation on the trip in 1980.

via Like Father Like Son: Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Not First in Family to Visit Iowa (Photos) – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

I’ll report from Washington next week!