So how did Hu Jintao, president of the People's Republic of China, end up sitting on a bed in Austin Miller's dorm room?

It began with a Mormon mission to Taiwan.

"Before going on my mission I had no interest in China at all," Miller, a Yale University junior from St. George, said. "I was interested in Europe and European history and U.S. history and really didn't think about Asia much at all. After spending two years in Taiwan I just fell in love with China, Chinese people, everything."

After his mission, Miller returned to Yale for one semester. But China was on his mind.

Miller became fascinated by the history of China and especially how religion — Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism — affected Chinese society and politics. He decided to study history and international relations in the Peking University-Yale University Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing. He didn't know that Hu was planning on making a high-profile visit to the university on May 3.

Miller's mission language skills put him at the top of the list of students to meet with the president. "I was the only foreign-looking (student) that could, I guess, carry on a good conversation with President Hu," he said. "So that's why I think I was chosen, honestly."

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