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University of Iowa News Release

June 30, 2006

Hong Kong Official Studying U.S. Political Systems To Visit Iowa City

In support of greater democracy in Hong Kong and in search of greater understanding of democratic practices and political systems in the United States, Shui Fung Ben Cheung will stop in Iowa City July 2-5 during a three-week tour of the United States. The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is sponsoring the visit as part of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

As the deputy spokesman for the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), Hong Kong's largest political party, Cheung is interested to learn how U.S. political parties and interest groups shape public opinion, particularly through the media and the Internet. Cheung is also a leading member of the "Young DAB," which works to recruit new members.

During his stay in Iowa City, Cheung will observe Independence Day celebrations and travel with U.S. Rep. Jim Leach to observe a U.S. congressman meeting with constituents. He also wants to visit art museums, galleries and the theater during his sojourn in the United States. CIVIC hopes to arrange home hospitality for him.

The Department of State also outlined the following objectives for Cheung's visit: to learn how U.S. political parties use polling to beef-up their image and formulate platforms, to examine how think tanks influence public policy, and to examine the effect of lobbyist efforts on administration policies and the relationship between religion and politics in this country.

CIVIC is one of two organizations in Iowa that supports the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, and it is a community organization of volunteers "serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis," said CIVIC Executive Director Tom Baldridge.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For a more detailed itinerary of Cheung's stay, or to volunteer, call the CIVIC office at 319-335-0351, located in 1111 University Capitol Centre.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Tom Baldridge or Marianne Weiss, 319-335-0351,; Writer: Erika Binegar.