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Xiong'an trip impresses Xi's Iowa friends

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-04 06:59
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Visitors emphasize need to pass down goodwill, increase youth exchanges

A group of guests from the US state of Iowa visit the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei province, July 2, 2023. [Photo/]

The futuristic configuration and construction efficiency of the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei province highly impressed a group of guests from the US state of Iowa who visited the area recently.

The group's members — some of whom have been acquaintances of President Xi Jinping's since the 1980s — visited the province from July 1 to 3. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Iowa's sisterhood with the province in North China.

In 1985, Xi, then secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhengding county committee in Hebei, led a delegation to Iowa for a two-week visit that kicked off a slew of memorable interactions between the two nations in the decades to come.

Last month, some of those Iowa friends got the chance to visit Xiong'an on their first trip to Hebei since the outbreak of COVID-19 three years ago interrupted travel.

On April 1, 2017, China announced plans to establish Xiong'an, a new economic zone about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, to relieve Beijing of functions not essential to its role as the nation's capital and to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

The photo shows an aerial view of a business service center in Xiong'an New Area, Hebei province. [Photo provided to]

"The size of the buildings and the green space show that a lot of thought went into making the city of the future and how people want to live," said Gary Dvorchak, managing director of Blueshirt Group Asia.

His parents are Eleanor and Thomas Dvorchak, who hosted Xi during his 1985 visit to Muscatine, Iowa. The Dvorchaks' house has been designated by Muscatine as the Sino-US Friendship House, which greets visitors to the small city.

The Iowa guests visited Xiong'an's center for planning and exhibition and the comprehensive service center of Xiong'an's startup area. They listened to briefings by local officials about the city's overall planning.

A group of guests from the US state of Iowa visit Xiong'an's Rongdong area in early July. [Photo/]

They also witnessed the progress of infrastructure construction and the building of a smart city in Xiong'an's Rongdong area. In addition, they toured the scenic Baiyangdian Lake to view the lucid waters there and the progress made in ecological preservation and restoration.

Recalling the tour in Xiong'an, Dvorchak said the city is "very modern and forward thinking", with a scale that is highly livable.

"We're all looking at it saying, boy, it would be nice to live here," he added.

A group of guests from the US state of Iowa visit Tayuanzhuang village in Zhengding county, Hebei province in early July of 2023. [Photo/]

The US guests, including Rick Kimberley, a farmer at Kimberley Family Farm in Iowa, also visited Tayuanzhuang village in Zhengding county to witness how China's ambition for rural vitalization is being translated into reality.

Yin Jiping, the village's Party chief, briefed them on plans for development of the village, including the blueprint for the agriculture and tourism sectors and social services for senior citizens.

Kimberley said, "The development of the agricultural industry has been something that you can be proud of."

In February 2012, Xi, then China's vice-president, visited Kimberley's farm and rode a tractor with him.

Kimberley added that he looks forward to continuing discussions with Chinese friends about agriculture, the importance of sustainable agriculture, and how to provide products in a safe, secure and sustainable way.

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