It's the question on everyone's mind. Well. It's the question on the mind of this Asia editor: Why, when he had his pick of all U.S. cities, did Chinese President Hu Jintao opt for Chicago on his trip to America?
Chicago is not New York. It isn't LA. It isn't even Springfield. Or Springfield, for that matter. What Chicago is, however, is Obama's hometown, headquarters of Boeing (which just sold China $19 billion in airplanes) and, as the New Yorker's Evan Osnos points out, Chicago is home to the largest Chinese-language education program in America.
On the China Beat, Jeffrey Wasserstrom says Hu's choice of Chicago will serve as precedent for Obama's next trip to China. He lists five possible "Chicago-like" cities that Obama is likely to visit next time he's in town, after Beijing. Shanghai? Too easy. Chongqing? Stranger things have happened. It is the city of 33 million most Americans have never even heard of.
China Digital Times wraps up of media coverage surrounding the Chicago question, while the Chicago Tribune covers the mixed reaction in the Windy CIty itself. Some are holding up "Welcome Hu Jintao" signs, and at least one Tibetan activist is trying to take them down.