Administration officials said that Obama would continue to push Hu on the issue of human rights and political reform in China.
"The longer China represses freedoms, the longer it will miss out on these opportunities and the longer that Nobel Prize winners, empty chairs in Oslo will remain a symbol of a great nation's unrealized potential and unfulfilled promise," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week.
Asked Tuesday how tough Obama would be on Hu, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he expected the president to continue to raise issues that "are not issues that China wishes to speak about" but Obama discusses because "they are important to our standing in the world and our relationship with the Chinese"
Also on the agenda are national security issues. The two presidents are expected to discuss North Korea's nuclear program, Iran and U.S.-Chinese military relations.
So far the White House has been tightlipped about details for the state dinner, but analysts said that the warm welcome is a clear sign of the importance the Obama administration places on this partnership.
ABC's Matthew Jaffe Contributed to this report