In the early 1980's as China was opening up to the West, Iowa Governor Robert Ray and Mrs. Jean Kaung decided to explore a Sister State relationship in China. In 1983, under Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa became Hebei Province's first Sister State. One of the first Chinese groups to visit Iowa was led by a young official named Xi Jinping. Today, 30 years later, Mr. Xi is the president of China and Iowa is known throughtout that huge country. Dubuque's sister city relationship with Handan is a direct result of Iowa's ties with Hebei. Since the late 1980's several visits have taken place and Dubuque has invited Handan's mayor to visit in the fall of 2013.
Handan is located in the southern section of Hebei Province and is
in the communication center of Hebei, Henan, Shanxi and Shandong provinces. It is within 200 (124 miles) kilometers of the capital cities
of these four provinces and about 500 kilometers (311 miles) from Beijing and Tianjin. The city lies at the east foot of Taihang Mountains, and borders the North China Plain in the east.
As the most time-honored city in Hebei, Handan was the capital of Zhao Kingdom in Warring States Period (476BC-221BC) as a
political, economic and cultural center of northern China. In Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), it enjoyed a high reputation as one of the
five essential cities of China. Then it gained its name for the Hanshan Mountain in the east of the city.
To learn more about Handan, please click on the link below: