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Peach Blossom

Book Launch and Lecture: Peach Blossom Fan

Award Winning Published Translator: Ben Wang

China Institute is joining with New York Review Books to celebrate the publication of Chen Shih-hsiang and Harold Acton’s lively translation of K’ung Shang-jen’s The Peach Blossom Fan. In his first lecture at China Institute’s new downtown home, Senior Lecturer Ben Wang will speak about this masterpiece of Chinese literature, a vast dramatic composition that combines the range and depth of a great novel with the swift intensity of film.

In his first lecture at China Institute’s new downtown home, Senior Lecturer Ben Wang will speak about this masterpiece of Chinese literature. With a large cast divided into a group of scrupulous and passionate patriots and another of corrupt and self-serving decadents, all of whom are based on real personalities and events of the day, the play tells the poignant story of love and heartbreaks in the midst of intriguing political and social upheavals that led to the fall of a monarchy. Mr. Wang will place The Peach Blossom Fan in this fascinating historical and literary context while delving into the beauty of its writing and its long-lasting influence.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 for members / $15 for non-members

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Aaron Nicholson 212-744-8181, ext. 138 or by email at


China and the West during World War II: A Confucius Institute Day Celebration

On September 26 the Confucius Institute at China Institute (CI@CI) will join nearly 500 Confucius Institutes around the world to celebrate Confucius Institute Day, a collaborative effort to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the founding of these institutions, with a shared mission to promote the understanding of Chinese language and culture. This year, in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the Anti-Fascist Victory in World War II and the Founding of the United Nations, this collective celebration will be guided by the theme “Understanding and Peace.” Join us for two lectures with Daniel Jackson and Professor Steve Hochstadt exploring China’s relationship with the West during World War II. There will be a tea reception for the authors between the two talks.

Saturday, September 26, 2015 ~ 2:00 – 6:00 PM

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Aaron Nicholson 212-744-8181, ext. 138 or by email at

Beer Tasting Series

Archaeology of Beers: Tastings of Ancient Ales

This two-part series will be jointly hosted by Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder and president Sam Calagione, Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Agnes Hsu, China Institute’s Resident Scholar and Consulting Archaeologist to UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Since 1999, Calagione has worked closely with McGovern, a leading molecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, to bring ancient brewing history back to life. The first beer they created together was Midas Touch, based on molecular evidence found in a tomb in Turkey believed to have belonged to the legendary King Midas of Greek mythology. The second ancient ale was Chateau Jiahu, based on an ingredient list unearthed from a 9000-year-old Chinese burial. This recipe is the earliest evidence of fermented beverage in the history of civilization—proving that drinks made from fermented grains (beer) have a longer history than beverages made from fermented grapes (wine). Chateau Jiahu was awarded the Specialty Beer Gold Medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Their third creation, Theobroma (“Food of the Gods” in the Aztec language), is based on the chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras that showed evidence of the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. Tastings of this ancient trio will be complemented by other exotic and seasonal ales that have become signatures of Dogfish Head’s craft brew masters.

Part I of the series will be hosted by Sam Calagione, Founder and President of Dogfish Head Brewery, who is also starring in Brewed, a Discovery Channel series about the fascinating history of beer making. Part II will feature an in-depth talk by Dr. Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. He is the author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (2003) and Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (2009), as well as over 100 periodical articles.

*Please note that attendees must meet the legal drinking age requirement of the State of New York.

First tasting on Thursday, October 7 ~ 6:30-8:30 PM
Second tasting on Friday, December 17 ~ 6-8 PM
$45 member/ $55 non-member (both events)
$25 member/ $30 non-member (per event)

Book Signing & Special Symposium

*New date and time. Book signing will be held in conjunction with the Special Symposium: The Legacy of C.C. Wang.

Through a Chinese Connoisseur’s Eye: Private Notes of C.C. Wang

C.C. Wang’s collection of private notes was written over a 40 year period, on paintings in the Palace Museum in Taipei and other collections he has studied. These detailed annotations open the door to the inner thoughts of a formidable collector, demonstrating his expertise and thought process as a connoisseur of Chinese literati painting. Included are paintings now housed in museums from his own collection, with the provenance and background of the nineteenth and twentieth century Chinese collections.

Kathleen Yang was first introduced to C.C. Wang in 1962 by her mother, when he was asked to make an authoritative evaluation of three paintings belonging to the family. For three years, she consulted Wang weekly to ensure accuracy in the translation of his comments from Chinese to English for the publication of his private notes. Yang, a graduate of Harvard University, studied with C.C. Wang for many decades to understand the traditional connoisseurship of Chinese classical painting, a system that has existed for many centuries in China, where one’s knowledge is transmitted from mentor to mentee.

Special Symposium on the Legacy of C.C. Wang

In celebration of the publication of Through a Chinese Connoisseur’s Eye: Private Notes of C.C. Wang, three distinguished panelists will speak about Wang’s connoisseurship, their experience working with him, and his noted collection of Chinese paintings. Speakers include Jerome Silbergeld, P. Y. & Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University, David Sensabaugh, Curator of Asian Art and Head of the Department of Asian Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, and Arnold Chang, renowned artist and art historian who studied under C.C. Wang.

Followed by a light reception.

Saturday, October 22 ~ 1 – 4:30 PM
$20 member / $25 non-member


Book Signing

Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners and Settlers

The multiple Chinese migrations from southeastern China to Southeast Asia have had important implications for both regions. In Southeast Asia this influence can be seen in the architecturally eclectic homes these migrants and their descendants built as they became successful; homes that combined Chinese, European, and local influences, especially during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia strives not only to be an informative but also an authoritative book on the subject of hybrid architecture — filled with stunning color photographs and essays on nearly thirty well- preserved homes.

Ronald G. Knapp is SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and author or contributing editor of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation.

Tuesday, October 25 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Curator’s Lecture

Kuiyi Shen and Julia Andrews, guest co-curators of the exhibition, will speak about their work on Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974–1985. Kuiyi Shen is Director of Chinese Studies Program and Professor of Asian Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of California, San Diego. His teaching and writings have focused on Chinese and Japanese art with an emphasis on modern and contemporary Chinese art and Sino-Japanese art exchanges in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Julia Andrews is Professor of Art History at the Ohio State University and a specialist in Chinese painting and modern Chinese art. Her first book, Painters and Politics in the People’s Republic of China (1994), won the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the best book of the year on modern China.

Thursday, September 15 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Islam in China:

A Talk on Rectifying God’s Name

Islam first arrived in China over 1,200 years ago, but for more than a millennium it was perceived as a foreign presence. The restoration of native Chinese rule by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), after nearly a century of Mongol domination, helped transform Chinese intellectual discourse on ideological, social, political, religious, and ethnic identity. This led to the creation of a burgeoning network of Sinicized Muslim scholars who wrote about Islam in classical Chinese and developed a body of literature known as the Han Kitāb. Rectifying God’s Name examines the life and work of one of the most important of the Qing Chinese Muslim literati, Liu Zhi (ca. 1660–ca. 1730), and places his writings in their historical, cultural, social, and religio-philosophical contexts. His Tianfang dianli (Ritual law of Islam) represents the most systematic and sophisticated attempt within the Han Kitāb corpus to harmonize Islam with Chinese thought.

The volume begins by situating Liu Zhi in the historical development of the Chinese Muslim intellectual tradition, examining his sources and influences as well as his legacy. Delving into the contents of Liu Zhi’s work, it focuses on his use of specific Chinese terms and concepts, their origins and meanings in Chinese thought, and their correspondence to Islamic principles. A close examination of the Tianfang dianli reveals Liu Zhi’s specific usage of the concept of Ritual as a common foundation of both Confucian morality and social order and Islamic piety.

James D. Frankel is assistant professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii.

Tuesday, June 21 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Book Signing

Confucianism for Americans

Published by the University of California Press and Acumen, Confucianism is the newest addition to their Ancient Philosophies series, which presents a concise, balanced overview of China’s oldest and most revered philosophy. In clear, straightforward language, Paul R. Goldin explores how Confucianism was conceived and molded by its earliest masters, discusses its main tenets, and considers its history and relevance for the modern world. Goldin guides readers through the philosophies of the three major classical Confucians—Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi—as well as two short anonymous treatises, the Great Learning and the Classic of Filial Piety. He also discusses some of the main Neo-Confucian philosophers and outlines transformations Confucianism has undergone in the past century.

Paul R. Goldin is Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 7 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Exclusive Advance Release

The Empress and Mrs. Conger: The Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds

In anticipation of the centennial of the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, China Institute is hosting an exclusive talk and pre-publication book signing of The Empress and Mrs. Conger by noted biographer, Grant Hayter-Menzies.

The Empress and Mrs. Conger traces the parallel lives of Empress Dowager Cixi and the wife of an American ambassador, Sarah Pike Conger, which converged to alter their perspectives of each other and each other’s worlds: Mrs. Conger’s love for China through her efforts to befriend, learn from, and help Chinese women; the Dowager’s appreciation, through Mrs. Conger, of the need for reform and the usefulness of cooperation with the West for the good of China. Using unpublished letters, diaries and photographs, and benefiting from the cooperation and assistance of relatives of Sarah Conger and the Empress Dowager, The Empress and Mrs. Conger recreates a world of the past while celebrating a friendship between East and West for the present and future to aspire to.

Before turning to biography full time, Grant Hayter-Menzies served as art and music critic for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Chinese-American author and personality Princess Der Ling, published by Hong Kong University Press in 2008.

Tuesday, May 10 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Performing Arts

China Moves

Spatial, aural, and kinetic forces intercept and diverge in China Moves, a collaboration between choreographer Michael Mao and composer Huang Ruo. Inspired by Huang’s Drama Theater No. 2: Shifting Shades, a composition for piano, cello, percussion, and eighteen beer bottles, China Moves explores artistic and compositional challenges in dance and music today. China Moves will premiere during the New York City Immigrant Heritage Week in April 2011 and China Institute is proud to host an exclusive mini performance in the intimate setting of its classical Chinese Garden.

Michael Mao is founder of Michael Mao Dance, a critically acclaimed New York based modern dance company with an international corps of accomplished dancers. His works fill the stage with compelling images and enthrall audiences with their emotional immediacy. Rooted in the traditions of American modern dance, Mao’s works reveal the choreographer’s Asian heritage in their spare yet expansive choreographic means. Huang Ruo was awarded First Place by the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition Prize in 2008 and has been cited by the New Yorker as “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers.”

Friday, April 29 ~ 6 – 7:30 PM
$15 member / $20 non-member

Director’s Talk and U.S. Premiere of The Giant Buddha at Leshan

The newest addition to the popular Manmade Marvels series on the Discovery Channel, this episode goes deep into the heart of China’s Sichuan province in search of the largest stone sculpture in the world. Award-winning documentary producer and director, Steve Talley, will introduce the film and speak about his experience filming archaeological sites in China and throughout the world. Resident Scholar Dr. Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu, a consulting archaeologist to UNESCO who appears in the film, will also join the discussion.

Tuesday, March 22 ~ 6:30–8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Special Lecture

Restoring Emperor Qianlong’s Juanqinzhai

In conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s special exhibition The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City, organizers of the exhibition – Dr. Nancy Berliner , Curator of Chinese Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, and Henry Ng, Executive Vice President of the World Monuments Fund, will speak about their multi-year collaboration with the Palace Museum on restoring the Juanqinzhai (Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service) that was the private retreat of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1799) of the Qing Dynasty.

Friday, March 18, 2011 ~ 5 – 6 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member
FREE FOTG member


Bronze Age Cultures in the North

Dr. Li Feng, Associate Director of Center for Archaeology and Assistant Professor of Early Chinese Cultural History, Columbia University, is a leading specialist of China’s Bronze Age. Dr. Li will discuss the traditional bronze cultures in the Central Plain region and cross-regional communications.

Tuesday, March 15 ~ 6:30-8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


The Axial Age — How Philosophy and Medicine Began

Dr. Geoffrey Redmond, M.D., Center for Health Research, will introduce the ancient text Yijing (Book of Changes) and manuscripts from the Yangzi River region that formed the basis of Chiense thought and medicine. The audience is invited to participate in an educational demo of the Yijing.

Tuesday, March 8 ~ 6:30-8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


Bronze Age Cultures in the South

Dr. John Major, Senior Lectuer at China Institute and a former professor, at Dartmouth College, will speak about thte cultures that flourished along the Yangzi River during the Bronze Age and his recent publication The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China

Tuesday, March 1 ~ 6:30-8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Curator’s Lecture

Ancient Bronzes in Hunan: A Survey

The middle bank of the Yangzi River is one of the most significant cradles of Chinese civilization and a historical area for the study of China’s Bronze Age. Several important excavations in the past few decades have enabled us to examine the little known aspects of this culture through exquisite bronze vessels. Guest co-curator, Dr. Jay Xu, will speak about the fascinating story of this regional culture in three ways: the development and characteristics of Hunan bronzes, their function and patronage, and their cultural connection to central China.

Along the Yangzi River: Regional Culture of the Bronze Age from Hunan is an original exhibition organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with the Hunan Provincial Museum.

Dr. Jay Xu is a widely published scholar, particularly on ancient Chinese bronzes and archaeology—his area of expertise. His prolific writings or translations cover diverse areas, including ancient Chinese jades, Chinese ceramics, Chinese calligraphy, and museum practice. The book Art of the Houma Foundry (Princeton University Press, 1996), to which he contributed, was awarded the prestigious Shimada Prize of 1997 for the Outstanding Publication on the History of Eastern Asian art. His publications have appeared in books and in such journals as Orientations, Natural History, Artibus Asiae, and Journal of East Asian Archaeology. He is much in demand as a speaker on topics related to Chinese art or museum practice, circumnavigating the globe from numerous cities across the United States to mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea.

Monday, February 28 ~ 6:30–8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Author Talk & Book Signing

Three Tough Chinamen

Nineteenth century Chinese immigrants to America, the Moy brothers — Jin Kee, Jin Mun, and Jin Fuey, crossed lines and broke barriers. Tough men whose lives were hemmed in by prejudice and restrictive laws, they were scrappy and ambitious. In an era when the Chinese were excluded from America’s shores and most already in the U.S. kept their heads down, they stood up and fought for their countrymen, using all means available to get ahead, up to and including committing petty crimes and, in the case of one brother, heinous ones. This is a collection of their stories about outwitting laws that mandated that Chinese accept third-class status if they desired even a small share in the American dream.

Scott D. Seligman is a writer, historian, genealogist, retired corporate executive, and career “China hand.” Seligman is the author of Chinese Business Etiquette (Grand Central Publishing, 1999) and Dealing With the Chinese (Warner Books, 1989) and co-author of the best-selling Cultural Revolution Cookbook (Earnshaw Books, 2011) as well as Now You’re Talking Mandarin Chinese (Barron’s Educational Series, 2006) and Chinese at a Glance (Barron’s, 1985 and 2001). He has published articles in the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the China Business Review, the Jewish Daily Forward, China Heritage Quarterly, and Traces, the Journal of the Indiana Historical Society. He has also created several websites on historical and genealogical topics. He lives in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, October 16 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Water in Design

HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates is world-renowned as the “Number 1 Hospitality Design Firm” (Interior Design) and winner of six record-breaking awards (2010 Hospitality Design Awards). “Water in Design” explores the role of feng shui in their design projects both in China and around the world, as well as its impact on hospitality design over the last 40 years.

Howard Pharr III is President of HBA. Pharr’s experience ranges from architectural master planning to interior design detailing and includes project management and construction administration in both architectural and interior design projects. Project experience includes hotels, health oriented facilities, country clubs, multi-use development projects, corporate office buildings, executive offices, luxury residential units, and master planning.

Tuesday, October 9 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Thank you for your interest in this program. However due to unforeseen circumstances this talk has been CANCELLED. Sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Special Lecture on Chinese Medicine

China Institute is honored to host a special lecture by the renowned Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen, DMS. He is the 88th Generation Daoist Master of Yu Ching Huang Lao Pai (Jade Purity School), Yellow Emperor/Lao Tzu Sect, ordained by 87th Generation Daoist Master Yu Wen, Dr. Yuen’s adoptive grandfather. Having been immersed in the practice and study of Daoism and the classics of Chinese medicine since early childhood, Dr. Yuen offers unparalleled knowledge of the rich, oral traditions that fully integrate physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of the medicine. He is an esteemed faculty member of the American University of Complementary Medicine and other schools, and lectures internationally.

Tuesday, September 18 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$15 member / $20 non-member


Book Signing

Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts
Edited by Jeffrey W. Cody, Nancy S. Steinhardt, and Tony Atkin

In the early twentieth century, Chinese traditional architecture and the French-derived methods of the École des Beaux-Arts converged in the United States when Chinese students were given scholarships to train as architects at American universities whose design curricula were dominated by Beaux-Arts methods. Upon their return home in the 1920s and 1930s, these graduates began to practice architecture and create China’s first architectural schools, often transferring a version of what they had learned in the U.S. to Chinese situations. The resulting complex series of design-related transplantations had major implications for China between 1911 and 1949, as it simultaneously underwent cataclysmic social, economic, and political changes. After 1949 and the founding of the People’s Republic, China experienced a radically different wave of influence from the Beaux-Arts through advisors from the Soviet Union who, first under Stalin and later Khrushchev, brought Beaux-Arts ideals in the guise of socialist progress.

In the early twenty-first century, China is still feeling the effects of these events. Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts examines the coalescing of the two major architectural systems, placing significant shifts in architectural theory and practice in China within relevant, contemporary, cultural, and educational contexts.

Nancy S. Steinhardt, renowned scholar of Chinese architectural history, is Professor of East Asian art and Curator of Chinese art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, May 15 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Book Signing

Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls

In the last two decades, China has seen the greatest period of urban growth in human history. The construction boom in its cities includes the creation of many lavish new concert halls. But with great ambitions come growing pains; show-stopping designs and massive lobbies are at times met with shortcomings in acoustics and inconsistent building standards.

Noted architectural historian Victoria Newhouse toured China’s “grand theaters” as she researched her forthcoming book, Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls, in which she devotes a chapter to the unprecedented proliferation of multi-hall grand theaters in the People’s Republic of China. Along with the halls themselves, she critiques the cultural context and ideas behind these surprisingly idiosyncratic representatives of regional political power.

In conversation with Ken Smith, Asian performing arts critic of the Financial Times, Newhouse evaluates her accumulated evidence and the variety of opinions and studies about what lays in store for music and performance, and comes to surprising and optimistic projections of a vibrant future awaiting sites for sound.

Thursday, May 3 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Annual Lecture on World Cultural Heritage

Arts & Culture is pleased to announce its second annual lecture on world cultural heritage with the Global Heritage Fund. Since its founding, GHF has focused its efforts in developing countries and regions on preservation and responsible development of the most important and endangered global heritage sites. GHF projects are selected using strict criteria developed by its Board of Trustees and Senior Advisory Board, and work on each project follows a methodology termed Preservation by Design®. Jeff Morgan, Executive Director of GHF, and Kuang-Han Li, GHF’s China Project Manager, will speak about GHF’s projects in China, including the Foguang Temple, Lijiang ancient town, the tulous in Fujian province, and the city of Pingyao in Shanxi.

Jeff Morgan is a trained urban and regional planner; at GHF, he is responsible for global conservation excellence, building a leading international conservancy, and improving the lives in communities where GHF sites are located. He is a co-author of Cracking the Japanese Market: Keys to Success in the New Global Economy (Free Press, 1991) and Saving Our Global Heritage (GHF Press, 2004). He serves on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and GHF’s Board of Trustees and Senior Advisory Board.

Tuesday, May 1 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


Book Signing

Things Chinese: Antiques, Crafts, Collectibles

A source of fascination to the West, China’s renowned art objects and traditional manufactured products have long been sought by collectors. Things Chinese presents sixty distinctive items that are typical of Chinese culture and together present a window onto the people, the history, and the society of the world’s largest nation.

Featuring descriptions and full-color photographs, the history, cultural significance, and customs surrounding these objects and their importance becomes clear. Items covered include bamboo furniture, ivory carving, snuff bottles, mooncake molds, musical instruments, mahjong sets, and fengshui compasses.

Ronald G. Knapp is SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and author or contributing editor of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation.

Tuesday, March 20 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


The Cultural Revolution Cookbook

Approximately 17 million privileged city youths were “sent down” to the countryside to learn from the peasants during China’s chaotic Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Toil in the communes was arduous and unpleasant and food was seldom abundant, but like the local farmers, they endeavored to make do with what there was. They learned to prepare remarkably tasty and healthy dishes with the fresh, wholesome, locally grown foods in season, to conserve scarce fuel and to improvise when ingredients were unavailable.

These are their recipes—entirely authentic, and easy to prepare in an American kitchen. Many are vegetarian and don’t require exotic ingredients. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, and short cuts and substitutions are listed. There are also many stories—about Chinese food, about the Cultural Revolution, and about living in the countryside—that bring the recipes, and the era, to life!

Sasha Gong earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in history at Peking University and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and has held teaching posts at UCLA, George Washington University, and George Mason University. She is the author of Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty. Scott D. Seligman is a writer, historian, retired corporate executive, and a career “China hand.” He has a B.A. degree in history from Princeton University and an M.A. degree from Harvard University, and is the author of several books on China.

Tuesday, March 13 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


The Original I Ching: An Authentic Translation of the Book of Changes

First among the ancient classics, the I Ching or Book of Changes is one of the world’s most influential books, comparable to the Bible, the Koran, and the Upanishads. The I Ching’s purpose is universal: to provide good counsel to its users in making decisions during times of change. Since its origins about 3,000 years ago, it has become a compendium of wisdom used by people of many cultures and eras.

This groundbreaking new translation by Dr. Margaret Pearson is based on the text created during the first centuries of the Zhou dynasty, study of documents showing how it was used in the dynasty, and on recent archaeological research findings. Her translation clearly separates the core text (Zhouyi) from later commentaries’ anachronisms, revealing a text rich in natural images and relatively free of gender stereotypes and cosmic concepts.

Margaret J. Pearson is professor emerita in history at Skidmore College, where she taught for thirty years. She is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and a frequent researcher at the Needham Research Institute, also in Cambridge. She has directed the Asian Studies Program and chaired the History Department and the University Seminar on Traditional China at Columbia University. Dr. Pearson is the first woman scholar to complete a translation of the oldest Chinese classic, the Book of Changes.

Tuesday, March 6 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Paul Chih Meng Memorial Lecture

CHINA BOYS: How U.S. Relations with the PRC Began and Grew-A Personal Memoir by Ambassador Nicholas Platt

In this highly acclaimed memoir, diplomat Nicholas Platt describes preparations for the historic Nixon visit to China in 1972 and the interplay within the U.S. delegation during the visit itself. He recounts setting up America’s first resident diplomatic office in the PRC, headed by David Bruce, and first encounters between Americans and Chinese, including Olympic athletes, orchestra maestros, Members of Congress, airplane manufacturers, bankers, scientists, and inner city youths. He further reveals the forging of the first links between the Pentagon and the People’s Liberation Army following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and shows how these all these diverse practical ties later evolved into today’s huge and crucial relationship. He also examines the role played by nongovernmental organizations in building U.S.-China relations.

Tuesday, January 17 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Author Talk & Book Signing

Every Rock a Universe: The Yellow Mountains and Chinese Travel Writing

The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) of China’s Anhui Province have been famous for centuries as a place of scenic beauty and inspiration for poets, painters, and travelers, and remain a hugely popular tourist destination today. A “golden age” of Yellow Mountains travel came about in the 17th century, especially after the traumatic Manchu invasion of China in 1644 led to the overthrow of the Ming dynasty. The mountains subsequently became an important symbol for loyalists protesting the new Qing dynasty and hoping for a reaffirmation of native governance and ideals. Among them was poet and artist Wang Hongdu (1646–1721/1722), who dedicated himself to traveling to each and every peak and recording his impressions. His resulting masterpiece of Chinese travel writing was printed posthumously in 1775, but has since remained obscure and available only in Chinese.

In this lecture, Professor Jonathan Chaves will present his new book, Every Rock a Universe: The Yellow Mountains and Chinese Travel Writing, which is the first complete translation of Wang’s work into a Western language with extensive annotations. Wang’s newly rediscovered poetry is also translated, showing him to be one of the most accomplished poets of his day. The book’s introductory essays explore the history of scholarly and religious pilgrimage to the area, and the role of the Yellow Mountains as the center of a yearned-for spiritual and cultural renaissance in the great Neo-Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist revivals of the early Qing period.

Jonathan Chaves is professor of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures at The George Washington University. A published original poet and distinguished translator of Chinese poetry, most recently Cloud Gate Song: The Verse of Tang Poet Zhang Ji, his work has been nominated for the National Book Award in the translation category.

Tuesday, December 17 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 member / $15 non–member

John Dewey and Our Time

John Dewey’s ideas ‒ particularly his philosophy on education developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries ‒ are still relevant for a 21st century audience. Educational, social, and political institutions still have much that they can learn from Dewey while applying a global perspective.

Led by Dr. Larry A. Hickman, this lecture will explore Dewey’s philosophical ideas from a historical perspective, look into Dewey’s connection with China, and share with the audience new researches and practices in both US and China on Dewey’s relevance to our time.

Dr. Larry A. Hickman is the Director of the Center for Dewey Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author and editor of numerous publications on Dewey including John Dewey’s Pragmatic Technology, The Essential Dewey, Vol. I & II, and The Correspondence of John Dewey. He is the recipient of three “Outstanding Academic Title” awards from Choice magazine. Dr. Hickman received the “Outstanding Career Achievement Award” from the John Dewey Society in 2012 and served as the society’s president in 2005.

Thursday, November 14 ~ 6:00 – 7:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non–member

Author Talk & Book Signing

Educating Young Giants: What Kids Learn (And Don’t Learn) in China and America

In Educating Young Giants Dr. Nancy Pine carries readers into Chinese and American elementary and high school classrooms and highlights the big differences between schools in China and the United States. Drawing from her many experiences in schools in both countries and conversations with students, teachers, and parents, it shows how China and America need to extract themselves from outmoded practices and how they can implement practical solutions by drawing the best from both systems.

Using vignettes and comments from parents, students, and teachers in each country as well as from her extensive research, Dr. Pine will discuss the education systems of these two countries, looking at our different styles of teaching, the way teachers are prepared and supported in the classroom, the influence of our histories, and the nature of assessments. This lecture will be of great interest to parents, educators, policymakers, and anyone interested in studying educational practices. A reception will be held following the lecture featuring refreshments and a book signing by Dr. Pine.

Nancy Pine, PhD, is an internationally known educator. She has taught for 14 years in public schools, directed a college Elementary Education Program for 10 years and the Bridging Cultures: U.S./China Program. In China, she has observed and carried out research in urban and rural schools for over 20 years. She blogs for the Huffington Post and presents regularly at educational conferences. Visit her online at

Friday, October 11 ~ 6:00 – 7:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non–member

Author Talk & Book Signing

The Chinese Art Book

For more than four millennia, dynasties rose and fell, capitals were abandoned and new ones built, and influxes of foreign populations contributed to the changing face of Chinese civilization and the creation of some of the world’s most beautiful art. Recently, through the momentous struggles of the past century, China has emerged as an economic superpower – and its art is now more prominent than ever.

Colin Mackenzie, Senior Curator of Chinese Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has partnered with Phaidon Press to create The Chinese Art Book, a visual encyclopedia of the art of the oldest continuous civilization on Earth through 300 works, from the earliest dynasties to the new generation of contemporary artists enlivening the global art world today. In this lecture, Mackenzie will examine Chinese art within the context of Chinese political and cultural history, addressing such questions as:

• How does contemporary Chinese art relate or does not relate to the past?
• What are the influences and interrelationships of traditional art forms?
• What does the future hold for Chinese art in a global world?
Click here for a preview of The Chinese Art Book.

Tuesday, September 24 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 member / $15 non–member
$40 member / $45 non-member (with purchase of “The Chinese Art Book”)

Author Talk & Book Signing

Beautiful Country

Written in Chinese and published in Beijing, Beautiful Country follows the story of Chase, a 14-year-old American boy, who spend a year in Beijing. While learning Mandarin and training with the Beijing Boys’ Tennis Team, he befriends a young Chinese boy, Bowei.

John Randolph Thornton, a 21-year-old Harvard student, draws upon his rich experience of living in China as a teenager for his debut novel, Beautiful Country. The book has received critical acclaim from the Chinese press, with positive reviews in numerous publications. Kai-fu Lee, Founding President of Google China and CEO of Innovation Works, commented: “This is a beautiful novel. The author’s unique perspective, notably on the struggle and destiny of Chinese adolescents, really makes this a worthwhile read for young Chinese.”

Tuesday, July 23 ~ 6:00 – 7:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Asia Week 2013

Mapping Qianlong’s Empire: Late Eighteenth Century Chinese Maps

Dr. Richard Pegg, Director and Curator of Asian Art for the MacLean Collection

In conjunction with the publication of his most recent article on rare maps from the MacLean collection in the April issue of Orientations, Dr. Pegg will discuss several Qianlong period (r. 1736-95) maps in different formats that reveal much about the policies and practices of the Chinese court, the realm, and the world during Qianlong’s sixty year reign during which time, 1660 to 1760, the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) doubled the size of the Chinese empire.

Richard A. Pegg, Ph.D. is currently Director and Curator of Asian Art for the MacLean Collection, a private museum and separate map library, outside Chicago. Dr. Pegg received his Ph.D. in East Asian Art History from Columbia University and MA and BA in Chinese and Japanese Literature from George Washington University. His current research is focused on later maps of East Asia.

Thursday, March 21 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$12 per ticket

Author Talk & Book Signing

Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China

Original Copies presents the first and definitive in-depth chronicle of the remarkable phenomenon in which entire townships appear to have been airlifted from their historic and geographic foundations in Europe and the Americas, and spot-welded to Chinese cities. These copycat constructions are not mere theme parks, but thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford.

It captures a critical moment in the evolution of post-Mao Chinese consumerism, and reveals how and why these remarkable copies of Western architecture…reflect essential elements of the 21st century “Chinese Dream.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Bianca Bosker is currently the Executive Technology Editor of The Huffington Post. She is the co-founding editor of The Huffington Post’s Tech section, which she helped launch in 2009. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Bosker will be interviewed by, Jerome Silbergeld, P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University.

Thursday, April 11 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Author Talk & Book Signing

Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape

Come along with David Hinton on a series of walks through the wild beauty of Hunger Mountain, near his home in Vermont-excursions informed by the insights he’s absorbed during decades spent translating the classics of Chinese poetry and philosophy. His broad-ranging discussion encompasses everything from the immediacy of mountain landscape to the origins of consciousness and the Cosmos, from mountain geology and weather to Chinese landscape painting and dragon legends, from parenting to pictographic oracle-bone script and on to a family chutney recipe. In writing that combines plain-spoken clarity with mind-opening lyricism, Hinton offers a spiritual ecology that is profoundly ancient and at the same time resoundingly contemporary. Your view of the landscape—and of your place in it—may never be the same again.

David Hinton’s many translations of ancient Chinese poetry have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary poetry that conveys the actual texture and density of the originals. His work is included as a major part of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, an anthology that presents the major literary translators of ancient Chinese poetry in English. Hinton is also the first translator in more than a century to translate the four original masterworks of Chinese philosophy: Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, Analects, Mencius. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997, he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. Hinton lives in East Calais, Vermont.

Tuesday, February 19 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Public Intellectuals in China: A Conversation with Zha Jianying

Born in Beijing in 1959 to a family of intellectuals (her father was a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Zha Jianying joined the first class of students at the newly reopened Peking University in 1978. Subsequently, she came to the U. S. to study comparative literature at Columbia University, chaired by the renowned scholar Edward Said. In 1987, Zha went back to China, published fiction and worked briefly for the New York Times Beijing office before returning to the States in 1989. From 1991 to 1994, she began traveling between China and the U.S. to research for her highly acclaimed book, China Pop: How Soap Operas, Tabloids and Bestsellers are Transforming a Culture (1996, New Press). In 2003, Zha was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction. Her latest book, Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China (2011), was selected by The Economist as “one of the best books of the year.”

Zha will be interviewed by noted scholar and translator Joanna C. Lee. Born in Hong Kong, Lee studied at the Royal College of Music in London and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has written about the Chinese avant-garde, Chinese rock and pop music, as well as her own fieldwork in rural China, for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Routledge Encyclopedia on Contemporary Chinese Culture and the Rouge Guides, among others. She appears regularly as a freelance producer and presenter on Hong Kong’s Radio 4 and has been a returning guest on WNYC’s Soundcheck. A former Honorary Research Fellow of Hong Kong University’s Centre for Asian Studies, she was a consultant for Kennedy Center’s 2005 Festival of China and Carnegie Hall’s 2009 Ancient Paths, Modern Voices festival, as well as a cultural advisor to David Henry Hwang’s bilingual Broadway comedy Chinglish.

Tuesday, January 15 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


2013 Paul Chih Meng Memorial Lecture and Reception

Mysteries of China: The Lost City of Jinsha
US Premiere (History Channel Asia HD)

In memory of China Institute’s second president from 1930 to 1967, please join us to celebrate Paul Chih Meng’s legacy as a pioneer and visionary who introduced Chinese culture to America during a tumultuous time in Sino-US history to advance the understanding between the peoples of the two nations.

We will be joined by the Executive Producers, Director, and Host of the new TV series Mysteries of China for an adventure to discover one of the most fascinating and important archaeological discoveries in China. Mysteries of China will take the audience into the heart of remote and beautiful locations across China, which are now revealing secrets from a forgotten age. In the first episode “The Lost City of Jinsha”, the Host explores the lost city of Jinsha (meaning ‘golden sand’) in Sichuan Province and its treasure trove of gold, jade and bronze objects, which had been discovered in 2001. It promises to reveal secrets that had remained hidden in an unparalleled time capsule for three thousand years…

Co-produced with China Intercontinental Communication Center for HISTORY Channel Asia, The Lost City of Jinsha was filmed in HD at the archaeological sites Jinsha and Sanxingdui in June 2012 and premiered in all territories of History Channel Asia on November 25, 2012. For more information about the series, please click here.

To view a trailer of The Lost City of Jinsha, please click here.

Friday, January 25 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM, a light reception will follow
$10 per ticket


Author Talk & Book Signing


Dr. Chi-ming Yang is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in East-West cultural exchange and eighteenth -century British literature. Her new book, Performing China: Virtue, Commerce, and Orientalism in Eighteenth-Century England, 1660–1760 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), considers the tremendous impact of Chinese export products — tea, porcelain, even Confucianism — upon English moral values. The China-mania that swept England in this period was especially influential in theatrical productions and new forms of fiction such as the Oriental tale. The idea of China as an economic and moral spectacle was thus “performed” on stage and across a range of cultural venues.

Chi-ming Yang received her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University and her B.A. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. She has taught at Fordham University and held a Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowship at Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in 18th-century British literature and culture, with interests in travel writing, empire, colonialism, and East-West relations. Her book, Performing China: Virtue, Commerce, and Orientalism in Eighteenth-century England, 1660-1760 is a study of the European fascination with Asia in the early modern period. Publications related to this theme of early modern orientalism have appeared in Comparative Literature Studies, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Humans and Other Animals in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Representation, Hybridity, Ethics. Her new work concerns transatlantic slavery, 17th and 18th century economic theories, and the cultural impact of global flows of silver between Latin America and East Asia.

Tuesday, February 5 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


Author Talk

China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and America’s Fateful Choice
By Richard Bernstein

A collaboration with Sinovision

A riveting account of a watershed moment in history: when America’s struggles with the despotic Chiang Kai-shek and the manipulative, ascendant Mao Zedong altered the course of East-West relations.

As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with Mao and his Communist rebels. But by the year’s end Communist diplomacy had all but frozen and America was resigned to unqualified support for China’s allied leader, General Chiang Kai-Shek, despite growing certainty that Mao was China’s heir apparent – a political allegiance whose consequences would echo down the subsequent decades, most violently in the form of the Korean and Vietnam wars. What happened?

Richard Bernstein brilliantly analyzes the many components of that year’s sea change, from ideological infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers, to Mao’s opportunistic presentations of identity and ambition, to China’s status as the crucible of a new world order, in which Soviet influence and intention were increasingly clearly manifest.

CHINA 1945 challenges familiar assumptions about the origin of modern Sino-American paradigms and meaningfully considers whether things could have turned out differently.

Richard Bernstein has been a reporter, culture critic, and commentator for more than 30 years. He was a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe for Time magazine and The New York Times, and was the first Beijing bureau chief for Time. He is the author of many books on Chinese and Asian themes, among them The Coming Conflict with China and Ultimate Journey, the latter of which was a New York Times Best Book of the Year. He is also the author of Out of The Blue: A Narrative of September 11, 2001, which was named by the Boston Globe as one of the seven best books of 2002. He lives in New York City.

Wednesday, December 10 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Author Talk

Pepper, Silk & Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East
By Rabbi Marvin Tokayer and Ellen Rodman, Ph.D

There is a chapter missing from Jewish history. While most people know the stories of the Jews of Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, few are familiar with the colorful and captivating stories of Jews and the Far East. Please join co-authors, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer and Dr. Ellen Rodman, as they bring this exciting and overlooked part of the Jewish experience to life while talking about their new book, Pepper, Silk & Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East.

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer served as a U.S. Air Force chaplain before becoming the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Japan, a position he served in for eight years before being named Lifetime Honorary Rabbi. He was vice president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Southeast Asia and the Far East, a delegate to the World Conference of Religion & Peace, a delegate to the First International Conference of Science, Philosophy & Religion, and a board member of the Sino-Judaic Institute. He has lectured widely and has written 20 books on Judaica in Japanese, multiple articles for the Encyclopedia Judaica, and co-wrote The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II (co-written by Mary Swartz). He was a contributor to the PBS documentary, Sugihara: A Conspiracy of Kindness.

Ellen Rodman Ph.D. is a writer/producer and president of LN Productions LLC, a production and media consulting company based in New York. Prior to founding LN Productions, Rodman served as an executive at NBC where she launched the first missing children’s campaign in connection with the broadcast of the made-for-television movie “Adam,” and at Group W where she accepted a DuPont Columbia Award for “Whispering Hope,” the company’s programming and community outreach on Alzheimer’s Disease. She has written or coauthored numerous books and articles and was the family entertainment reviewer for The New York Times.

Monday, October 27 ~ 6:00 – 8:00 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Lecture and Discussion

Useless Rock: Youth Culture in the PRC

In 2000, the Chinese rock band Second Hand Rose was formed, and it quickly challenged a marginalized and detached rock music scene. By boldly combining traditional folk music elements with solid rock and roll fundamentals, Second Hand Rose became one of China’s most popular rock bands as it rejected the countercultural aesthetics of underground rock music. In 2002, Second Hand Rose became the only foreign band to be invited to play at the Swiss Snow Mountain Music Festival, an annual event attracting some of Switzerland’s most established musicians. They were also one of the few Chinese rock bands invited to perform in Shanghai at the 2003 China-Japan Pop Music Exchange Concerts, an event organized by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. In 2004, the band performed at the Amsterdam China Festival in the Netherlands.

In the ten years since the band’s formation, rock music has become increasingly accepted by Chinese mainstream media; the proliferation of music festivals, televised talent shows, and social media have made it possible for aspiring bands to showcase their music to an ever larger audience. Second Hand Rose has grown with this movement, and last year, it became the first Chinese rock band to give a concert at the state-owned Workers’ Gymnasium. The concert was called Useless Rock, which they are now bringing to the United States on their first ever North American tour.

In advance of their concert at Webster Hall on October 19, this lecture and discussion will explore the changing significance of rock music in China – including its critical potential – in a debate between Liang Long, the lead singer of Second Hand Rose, and Dr. Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, the band’s percussionist and a scholar of Chinese Studies. The debate will be moderated by Eric de Fontenay, founder of MusicDish and MusicDish*China.

Thursday, October 9 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Art Salon

Line: From Brush to Rope
with Ross Lewis

Years of studying Chinese culture have led artist Ross Lewis to develop a distinct visual language by incorporating aesthetic and philosophical sensibilities of Chinese artistic traditions into a new context. In his recent “Rope Paintings,” the artist departs from his training in Chinese brush painting to forge a new artistic expression using rope and string saturated with ink and juxtaposed with collage. This art underscores the creativity that derives from cross-cultural influences.

Ross Lewis is an artist, curator, and arts educator from New York. Concurrent with his practice as a painter, his installation work includes temporary and permanent commissions in the US and abroad including Parallel Motion, a 96′ long mural in Battery Park City, Dancing in Pink Snow, a mixed-media installation in a 19th century horse stable in Berlin, and Urban Intersections, an 80′ by 24′ high wall mural comprised of 500,000 pieces of glass and ceramic tile at PS 307 in Queens. His “Rope Paintings” will be exhibited this May in Shanghai.

Tuesday, April 22 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


Nushu: The Secret Language
A Lecture by Yajun Qu and Dr. Congming Ma

Yajun Qu, Director of Xi’an’s Women’s Culture Museum, and Dr. Congming Ma, professor of Journalism and Communication at Shaanxi Normal University, will reveal some of the fascinating stories of how and why Nushu, the only known language used solely by women, was developed in China hundreds of years ago.

Nushu is a written script that was invented by women in a region of Hunan province. Because women did not have access to formal education in the feudal era, this script was developed as a means of secret communication and passed down between generations. It was little known outside the area until scholars “discovered” it in the 20th century.

There has been a revival of interest in Nushu in recent years. Tan Dun composed a symphony inspired by Nushu and the language is featured prominently in Lisa See’s novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Ms. Qu and Dr. Ma will discuss the history of Nushu and illustrate how its unique calligraphy has been used on fans and embroidered handkerchiefs, as seen in objects from the Women’s Culture Museum.

Join us as these esteemed scholars illuminate this captivating topic in China’s cultural history.

Friday, April 11 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Author Talk & Book Signing

Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains with Jenny Bowen

In the summer of 1998, Jenny Bowen looked out her kitchen window onto her garden, and her life changed forever. Her three-year-old daughter Maya, whom she and her husband had adopted months earlier from an orphanage in China, had transformed from a vacant-eyed, sickly little girl into a joyous being thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved. Watching her daughter play, Bowen was overcome with the desire to help the orphaned children she couldn’t bring home. And that’s when Half the Sky Foundation was born.

Wish You Happy Forever tells the story of China’s momentous progress in its treatment of orphaned and abandoned children. When Bowen began Half the Sky in 1998 determined to bring a caring adult into the life of every orphaned child, it seemed impossible that China would allow a foreigner to work inside government orphanages, let alone try to bring meaningful change. Inevitably, the pathway to collaboration was fraught with challenges: Bowen had to find ways to lead her organization past closed doors and naysayers, bureaucratic roadblocks and reluctant government officials, as well as natural disasters and flustered board members to realize her vision for a loving, more nurturing approach to child welfare in China. But despite the oceans and ideas that divide us, in the end, all of us want only good for our children. Now the Chinese government not only trusts but partners with Half the Sky to make life better for the children in its care.

To this day, Bowen is the only Westerner working with the Chinese government to transform its entire child welfare system from the inside, and Half the Sky, with fifty-two children’s centers throughout the country, has helped more than a hundred thousand children. Bowen’s beautifully written memoir, Wish You Happy Forever, teaches us that saving a child’s life can transcend language and cultural barriers, and that, above all else, a determined dreamer with a loving presence speaks at the greatest volume.

Tuesday, March 11 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Art and Chinese New Year: Lecture and Festive Reception

Join us for a special lecture and festive reception in celebration of Chinese New Year. This inaugural, annual event will celebrate the Year of the Horse. Dr. Morris Rossabi will lecture about the horse in Chinese art. This will be followed by a reception including typical Chinese New Year fare of dumplings, rice cakes and other light refreshments.

Morris Rossabi is a Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Inner Asian History at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and a Distinguished Professor of History at Queens College, The City University of New York. Professor Rossabi is a historian of China and Central Asia. He teaches courses on Inner Asian, East Asian, and Chinese history at Columbia.

He has helped organize exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He is on the advisory board of the Project on Central Eurasia of the Soros Foundation. The author of numerous articles and speeches, he travels repeatedly to Central Asia and Mongolia, where he teaches courses on Mongolian and East Asian history.

Tuesday, February 11 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
This inaugural event is sponsored by the New York China Association of Collectors and is for members only


An Indispensable Literary Bridge: Ballad of The Han

Award Winning Published Translator: Ben Wang

During the dawning years of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-221A.D.), an official bureau named Yuefu (House of Music or Ballad in English) was set up by the emperor’s edict to collect the finest folk songs from the countryside, a number of which were narratives that revealed lives and moods of the people. Human emotions are the central theme in these ballads: songs to inspire, move or to amuse the listeners and readers. There are accounts in these works that condemned sufferings caused by wars, as well as some that lamented the misery brought on to the peasantry by poverty. Though more mature and elaborate, the ballads are composed in the similar vein to the works in the Book of Songs. Indeed, the significance of the ballads of the Han lies in that they serve as an indispensable literary and poetic bridge between the Book of Songs, the Songs of the South, the first two collections of poetry, and all the later poetic genres in Chinese literature.

Taught by Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities of China Institute and an award-winning translator, the Ballad of Han will be introduced and explored in the original texts of selected poems. Mr. Wang will offer this lecture in English. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$25 for members / $30 for non-members

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Aaron Nicholson 212-744-8181, ext. 138 or by email at


Heroes of History: Legacy of My Chinese Family

Emmy, Golden Globe and Drama Desk nominee: Tina Chen

Join us as actress Tina Chen recounts the fascinating story of three generations of her mother’s family and their contributions to the history of China.

Learn about a Governor General of six provinces who served under three different Qing Dynasty emperors and the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi; about his son, an assistant to Sun Yat Sen, who became the first Prime Minister of the Republic of China; and about his granddaughter (Tina Chen’s mother), a Cambridge scholar who, after fleeing to Taiwan during the war, took on secret work that she had to hide even from her husband.

These prominent figures are brought back to life through stories and photographs. Reception with Ms. Chen to follow.

Friday, May 8, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 7:30 PM
$10 for members / $15 for non-members

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Laura Warne 212-744-8181, ext. 146 or by email at


Ben Wang’s April, 2015 Lecture:

The Timeless Book of Songs

The Book of Songs (shi jing), an anthology of 300 songs-turned-poems from 1,100 to 600 B.C., compiled by Confucius (551-479 B.C.) among other scholars, is the first piece of literature of China. Timeless and beautiful, it remains as the glorious fountainhead of Chinese culture, from which all the later literary works and other cultural genres were derived. Subjects of these poems range from love, compassion and lamentation to laud and glorification. Its most outstanding descendants are the three poetic genres flourished from the 7th century through the 15th century: Tang poetry (shi), Song poetry (ci) and Yuan poetry (qu).

One of the most acclaimed courses taught by Ben Wang, Senior Lecture of Language and Humanities of the China Institute and award-winning translator, the Book of Songs and its quintessential spirit will be introduced and explored in the original texts of selected poems. Mr. Wang will offer this lecture in English. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$25 for members / $30 for non-members


For questions or to register by phone, please contact Aaron Nicholson 212-744-8181, ext. 138 or by email at


Author Talk

Dorothy Tse: Snow and Shadow

Please join us for a reading and discussion with acclaimed Hong Kong writer Dorothy Tse as we celebrate the U.S. release of her short story collection Snow and Shadow.

Dorothy Tse is one of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed young writers. Her short story collection So Black won the Hong Kong Biennial Award for Chinese Literature in 2005 and A Dictionary of Two Cities, which she co-authored with Hon Lai-chu, won the 2013 Hong Kong Book Prize. Her literary prizes also include Taiwan’s Unitas New Fiction Writers’ Award and the Hong Kong Award for Creative Writing in Chinese. A co-founder of Hong Kong’s preeminent literary magazine, Fleurs des Lettres, she currently teaches creative writing at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Snow and Shadow displays Ms. Tse’s distinctive dreamlike and surrealist style, which she attributes to her struggle to carve out space as an artist in Hong Kong’s highly commercial, trend-obsessed society. Ms. Tse will read from her book and discuss her writing and inspirations with the audience.

Snow and Shadow challenges the boundaries and limitations of our narrow, conventional realities and forces us to re-examine our perspective of the world…this enchanting collection of transformative tales will, like a shadow, follow them long after the final page.” – Amy Russell, South China Morning Post

Friday, April 3, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
$10 for members / $15 for non-members

[Registration Has Ended]

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Yuyang Li at 212-744-8181, ext. 121 or by email at


2nd Annual Lecture and Festive Reception

Art and Chinese New Year

Join us for this special 2nd annual lecture and festive reception in celebration of Chinese New Year. In honor of the Year of the Ram, Dr. Jerome Silbergeld will lecture about this animal’s role in Chinese art and history.

The Chinese twelve calendrical animals system 生肖dates back at least to the Qin dynasty, complemented by the twenty-eight figures of the lunar “mansions” in Chinese astrology 二十八星宿and the four directional animals 四神. This year’s animal, the yang 羊, is unique among the twelve in being not one animal but two: the sheep and the goat, two animals that could hardly be more different from each other. This presentation will look at the calendrical system, particularly the two yang and the various roles that they have played in Chinese cultural and historical lore.

This event will be followed by a reception with typical Chinese New Year fare of dumplings, rice cakes, and other light refreshments.

Jerome Silbergeld is the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University and director of Princeton’s Tang Center for East Asian Art. He was previously the chair of Art History and director of the School of Art at the University of Washington. He teaches, publishes, and curates exhibitions on topics in traditional and contemporary Chinese painting, architecture and gardens, cinema and photography. He has published more than seventy books, articles, and book chapters, including the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Chinese art. His most next publication will be an edited volume, The Zoomorphic Imagination in Chinese Art and Culture (University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming 2015).

Friday, February 27, 2015 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Free for China Institute members / $15 for non-members