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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping continued his trip to the US on Wednesday. He met with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill in the morning.
At a meeting with US Senator Eric Cantor, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, the two delivered a letter to Xi about the plight of Gao Zhisheng. Gao is a rights lawyer who has been imprisoned in northwest China after he spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party's treatment of prisoners of conscience.
Xi's visit comes when ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained over economic disputes, human rights, and each country's military intentions.
Chinese officials have carefully choreographed Xi's US trip as a rite of passage in China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
Later on Wednesday, Xi flew to Iowa, which he visited for the first time as a county-level official in 1985. He will be travelling from Iowa to Los Angeles later today.
Xi is expected to become head of the ruling Communist Party later this year before he is appointed president in March 2013.