Chinese Ping Pong Champ Recounts RN Meeting
Zedong Zhuang, three-time World Table Tennis men’s singles champion, came to the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum to pay his respects to the “great American leader who opened positive relations with my country and later ended the Vietnam War.”
Zhuang was introduced to President Nixon in 1972 by Premier Chou En-lai in the Great Hall of the People during RN’s historic journey to Peking. Zhuang was an international celebrity because he had led a mission to the United States which became noted for “ping pong diplomacy.”
Library Foundation executive director John H. Taylor greeted Zhuang and his wife upon arrival and extended a formal welcome over tea, an exchange of gifts and brief remarks. Taylor asked the table tennis champion to lead an initiative which would bring together the best Chinese and American ping pong players next year for a competition in the Foundation’s East Room celebrating President Nixon’s peace making trip to China and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
After presenting Presidential Library director Tim Naftali with an autographed copy of his
biography, Zhuang and his wife were escorted to the graves of President and Mrs. Nixon where they
placed roses before taking a two-hour tour of the galleries and grounds.