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December 30, 2003

THIS WAS A GOOD STORY, UNTIL THE END WHEN IT SOURED

Look, I understand political favors, but can't just regular and successful Chinese-Americans get invited?

Phoenix attorney Barry Wong got a firsthand glimpse of White House pomp and circumstance earlier this month when he was invited to an arrival ceremony for Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Wong, whose parents fled communist China in the 1950s, said he was not only impressed to be at the White House, he also was moved to be present for the first visit of one of China's new generation of leaders.

"After clearing security, I took a few steps toward the White House and just stood there in awe of just having the opportunity to be standing where the president is often seen on television. . . . I thought of how far I have come as a son of immigrants from China," Wong said.

Among the administration officials at the event were President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Wong, 44, a former state legislator and a member of the Bush re-election campaign's Arizona steering committee, also landed a tour of the White House.