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Hu Jintao Surveys Evidence of China's Soft Power at Chicago High School

Hu Jintao seemed totally impressed with the Chinese language classes at Chicago's Walter Payton Prep.


Students at Chicago's innovative math, science, and foreign language high school, Walter Payton Prep, welcomed a special visitor on Friday—Chinese President Hu Jintao.

At a time when studies—like the recently released PISA data—show that American students are being outperformed by their Chinese counterparts, Chicago mayor Richard Daley proudly showed off the school. "I invited the president to Walter Payton for one reason," said Daley. To show "how important education is to the future of this city."

The 11-year-old selective enrollment high school, named after Chicago Bears football legend Walter Payton, is consistently ranked as the 1st or 2nd best high school in Illinois. The school is also home to a Confucius Institute, which works with the Chinese government to teach Chinese language and culture, and it houses the largest Chinese language program in the nation.

Hu was so impressed with Walter Payton (you can watch raw footage of his visit in the video above) that he unexpectedly invited 20 students and faculty to visit China this summer. "We are especially struck by how bright and inquisitive the students are by your many talents and you all around development," Hu said.

Daley has visited China four times and clearly has no concerns about Chicago's students being converted to communism because they're learning Chinese. Chicago Public Schools spokesperson Terry Mazany told the Chicago Tribune that Hu's visit is "a testament to Mayor (Richard) Daley’s vision of Chicago as a global city."

photo via Zimbio

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