Chinese cultural center to open in Muscatine

AP PHOTO In an Sunday photo, Glad Cheng, co-owner of China Windows Group, describes what the new Sino-U.S. Friendship Center will consist of during Monday's announcement of the opening of a Sini-U.S. Friendship Center in Muscatine. Work to convert a former furniture store in downtown Muscatine into the center is expected to begin this month.

MUSCATINE — A southeast Iowa city is strengthening its ties to China with the opening of a Sini-U.S. Friendship Center, marking the latest development since the Chinese president’s 1985 visit to the community.

Work to convert a former furniture store in downtown Muscatine into the center is expected to begin this month, the Muscatine Journal reported.

China Windows Group Inc. chairman Glad Cheng is developing the friendship center. He estimates it’ll cost $1 million to buy and renovate the building.

Cheng said he hopes the center will teach Americans more about Chinese culture and hopes that more Americans will become interested in traveling to China.

“I want to show you Chinese tea, Chinese acupuncture, Chinese food,” he said.

The center will also include an exhibit featuring key events in the relationship between China and the United States.

Daniel P. Stein, chairman of the Muscatine-China Initiatives Committee, said the center will build upon the “tremendous amount of momentum” in city development, including the construction of the more than $42 million Merrill Hotel and Conference Center across the street.

“This is one more pillar to make Muscatine the best it can be,” Stein said.