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Daley hails Hu as ‘man of vision’

Chicago mayor Richard Daley left introduces his wife Maggie right China's President Hu Jintao before meeting business leaders Thursday Jan.

Chicago mayor Richard Daley, left, introduces his wife Maggie, right, to China's President Hu Jintao before a meeting of business leaders Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Chinese population in chicago area

• Chinese, excluding Taiwanese: 85,673

• Taiwanese: 2,952

Source: US Census, American Community Survey estimates, 2009

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Hailing him as “a man of vision,” Mayor Daley introduced Chinese President Hu Jintao at a formal dinner in Chicago on Thursday night that included a Who’s Who of Illinois business and politics.

After the crowd of more than 500 gave the mayor and Chinese president a standing ovation, Daley said he plans to make Chicago “the most China-friendly city in the United States.”

Daley announced the establishment of a $1 million scholarship fund by the Margot and Tom Pritzker Family Foundation for Chinese art students who want to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. CPS students who want to study in China will benefit from a $100,000 fund established by Motorola and Caterpillar.

“We want to establish a new partnership between Chicago and China that will benefit the future generations for years to come,” Daley said, turning toward Hu.

The dinner at the Chicago Hilton and Towers featured a jazz band and the political elites: Gov. Quinn, the states two U.S. senators — Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk — and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former CPS chief.

Also attending were James McNerney, CEO of the Boeing Co., and the heads of Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc., and JP Morgan Chase. All do business in China.

“My colleagues and I are deeply touched by the warmth of your hospitality,” Hu said as guests dined on dry aged Midwestern filet mignon, braised short rib, almond ginger tea cake and chocolate pot de creme.

Hu said Chicago exemplifies “the self-enterprising and pioneering spirit” that has helped make the United States a world power.

Hu credited his own country with those same traits.

Hu stressed that the Midwest’s and China’s economic goals are intertwined.

He said Midwestern exports to China have skyrocked by as much as 800 percent.

“Boeing, Motorola, Caterpillar, McDonald’s and many other Midwestern companies have become household names in China,” he said.

He predicted an even stronger alliance between the United States and his country as the two nations work to prepare a better future.

Hu also praised the Chicago Public Schools for its Chinese language program in 40 schools.

Speaking of his plans to visit Walter Payton College Prep’s Confucius Institute Friday, Hu said: “I look forward to hearing what the students here have to say about the United States, China and the world.”

Earlier, in a meeting with business leaders, Hu paid his own tribute to Daley.

Through a translator, Hu hailed Daley as “the most senior mayor in America.”

“I want to offer my sincere congratulations to you,” Hu said.

With more than 22 years in office, Daley surpassed his father’s record in December as Chicago’s longest-serving mayor.

As the evening drew to a close, dinner guests were treated to Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinists and The Chicago Children’s Choir’s renditions of “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is”) and “Sweet Home, Chicago.”

Meanwhile outside the Hilton, dozens protested what they said was the Chinese government’s history of human rights abuse.

Jack Sun, who moved to Chicago from China last year, said he was jailed three times for participating in the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

With his arms and legs cuffed together for days at a time, other times arms stretched and tied at opposite side, he passed out for several days and was force fed through the nose when he went on a hunger strike.

“I couldn’t sell out my conscious,” he said.

Contributing: Cheryl V. Jackson

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