At China Institute, we believe that a deeper understanding between the U.S. and China is critical to strengthening our global community in the 21st Century, and that proficiency in the Chinese language will facilitate a more nuanced dialogue between and among our citizens and leaders. This belief is the foundation for our language programs, directed both at language learning and also at ensuring that Mandarin language teachers have high quality training available to them so that they can inspire, engage, and educate their students with maximum effectiveness.

Because of our position as a global leader in evaluating and understanding best practices in the teaching of Mandarin language, China Institute is in a unique position to employ in our classrooms what we are learning through research and teacher training. Thus, we strive to design our classes in such a way that they embody the best practices in methodology and curriculum available to educators today, and, in turn, to enrich our professional development offerings for teachers with what we have learned in the hands-on practical setting of our classrooms.

China Institute is chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York as a school of continuing education.The Institute’s School of Chinese Studies, founded in 1933, is the oldest educational center of its kind in the United States.

At China Institute, our faculty are both scholars and your guides, to all things China.

Senior Lecturers


Ben Wang: Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities at China Institute, Co-Chair of Renwen Society of China Institute, retired Instructor of Chinese at the United Nations Language Program.  A published writer on classical Chinese poetry and others, Ben Wang is an award winning translator both from Chinese into English and vice versa; He taught Chinese and translation at Columbia University, New York University, Pace University and City University of New York between 1969 and 1991.

Ben Wang teaches and lectures on the Chinese language, calligraphy, and classical Chinese literature, including the Book of Songs, the Songs of the South; Han, Tang and Song poetry; Yuan and Ming poetic dramas; Story of the Stone of the Qing; classical Kunqu Drama and Beijing Opera; Literati Painting. Ben Wang’s lectures on and translations of Kunqu dramas have been reviewed and acclaimed three times in the New York Times by the Times’ music and drama critic James Oestreich as “magnificent,” “captivating,” and “colorful.”

Since 1989, Ben Wang has lectured (extensively on the above-mentioned subjects)at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Barnard, Williams, U.C. Berkeley, New York University, Bates, Colby, Hamilton, Middlebury, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Mary’s College in California, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, United Nations, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, ABC Nightline, the BBC, among other academic and cultural institutions.

Latest publications in English:

  1. Forlorn in the Rain: Translation and Annotation of Selected Classical Chinese Poetry and Others; Published by Foreign Languages Publishing Bureau, Beijing, China: Oct. 2018

  1. A series of 4 books on the Forbidden City in Beijing, China:
    1. We All Live in the Forbidden City
    2. This Is the Greatest Place!
    3. Bowls of Happiness
    4. What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?

    (Published by China Institute and Released by Tuttle Publishing; 2014, 2015, the series has garnered 9 US book awards, as of September 2016.)

  1. Laughter and Tears: Libretti from Highlight Scenes of 26 Classical Poetic Kunqu Dramas; Published by Foreign Languages Publishing Bureau, Beijing, China: 2009.

(January 2019)


Ping Wang earned an MA from Long Island University in TESOL (Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages) and a BA from Peking University, Beijing, China in Western Languages and Literatures. She has been teaching Chinese as a second language to foreign students since 1983, first at Beijing Language Institute for nine years. After moving to the U.S. she taught at the United Nations and the City College of New York (CUNY). She currently teaches at China Institute in the Adult Language Program and Private Tutoring Program, at New York University (NYU) and at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).


Steve Zhang received graduate degrees in history and classical studies. He has extended experiences in teaching Chinese at all levels and as well as in curriculum design. He has published on literature, history and culture in mainland, Taiwan and the United States and served on the board of editors for translation series Approaching China. He is currently a professor of Chinese language and culture at SUNY after years of lecturing at various schools such as City University of New York, Fordham University, Saint Mary’s College and University of Minnesota. He joined China Institute in 2005.


Lan Yang holds a MSED in Literacy Education from Queens College, CUNY. She is a certified NYS Chinese teacher, and holds the certificates in ACTFL’s (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Written Proficiency Test (WPT). Lan has joined China Institute since 2010. She is also an adjunct faculty at Pace University.

Fei Xue received her M.A. in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages at Peking University, China and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Japanese Language and Culture Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada. After moving to NYC, she pursued a professional certificate in TCSOL (Teaching Chinese as a Second Language) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has abundant experience in teaching and tutoring Chinese for learners at all ages and various levels. Fei is also experienced in differentiated instruction and lesson planning for targeted audience. Fei joined China Institute in 2018.

Jia Situ holds a BA from Hunter College and an MA in Teaching Chinese and TESOL from New York University. She holds certificates in both teaching Chinese and teaching Chinese culture and traditional art. She has taught Chinese at various institutions, including The New School, Shuang Wen After School Program and FGS Chinese School, etc. She is currently teaching at Nightingale-Bamford School.

Karen Ma received her MA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Washington. She has taught, tutored, and designed language and Asian culture curricula in China, Japan, India, and the US and worked with a broad range of students, including adult professionals, college students, and middle and high schoolers. The institutions she has taught at include St. John’s University in New York, Sophia University in Tokyo, and the American Embassy School in New Delhi. She has also published widely as a regular film reviewer and contributing writer for various media, including NPR, The International Herald Tribune, The Japan Times, Asahi Evening News and South China Morning Post. An avid connoisseur and promoter of Chinese culture and film, she has given speeches at various venues in China and Japan and has taught college-level Chinese culture and film courses at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies between 2015 and 2017. Currently she is a Mandarin language instructor, working remotely, with the Washington DC-based International Center for Language Studies. She joined China Institute in 2021.

Nan Deng received her M.A. in Foreign Language Education and TESOL from New York University. Growing up in Beijing and Canton (Guangzhou), she speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. She is a New York State certified teacher in teaching Chinese Mandarin and ESL. She is a dedicated teacher in the field of teaching Chinese. In addition to working as a full time Mandarin teacher at New Utrecht High School, she also gave speeches at various academic seminars, such as the professional development sessions held by Social Studies Supervisors Association (SSSA) and Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT).

Qi Li is passionate about teaching Chinese language and culture. She holds a MA of American Literature from Shandong University and a MS of CT Teacher certification program from the University of Bridgeport. She has over twenty years of teaching experience working with adults and children, including college and K-12 students. Currently, Qi is a full time faculty of Mandarin at Hopkins School. Qi joined China Institute in the spring of 2022.

Qian Hou received her M.S. in Business from Fordham University and B.A. in English Interpreting & Translation from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. After she realized her genuine interest in teaching and education, Qian pursued a professional training in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Beijing Language and Culture University and holds a certificate in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages issued by Confucius Institute. Since 2015, she has been a teaching assistant and then a teacher of Chinese at a few higher education institutions, including Middlebury C. V. Starr School in Beijing and the School of Chinese as a Second Language at Peking University. Qian is passionate about teaching Chinese and spreading Chinese culture. Also she is experienced in developing teaching materials based on students’ language level, interest and cultural background. Qian joined China Institute in 2019.

Rency Qu has a Master’s Degree in Adolescent Education of Chinese from Hunter College. She has a wealth of teaching, tutoring and curriculum design experience in various programs and Language Schools including Hunter College Chinese Startalk and Flagship Program, Teng Fei Language Center, East-West School of International Studies, and Brooklyn High School of the Arts. She’s passionate about teaching, and enjoys working with students from multiple backgrounds. Currently, she is an adjunct lecturer of Chinese at Fordham University, and has been teaching at China Institute since 2014.

Shouwen Pan was a professor of English at Jilin University before joining China Institute in 2017. In 2000-2001 he was a William Fulbright Scholar sponsored by the US State Department and hosted by the University of Mississippi. In 2007 he received his PhD degree of English Literature at Nankai University. In 2008 he began to do research on Chinese classics by applying the Western literary critical theory. In 2010-2014 he taught classical Chinese philosophy, classical Chinese literature and Chinese at the Confucius Institute of Rutgers University. In 2015 Dr. Pan published his monograph Interpretation and Translation of Dao De Jing《道德经解译》. In the same year, his scholarly paper “On Lao Tzu’s Special Subjectivity and the Self-Sufficiency of Tao Te Ching” was published on the Journal of Changchun University. In 2017 he finished his research project on “International Promotion of Classical Chinese Philosophy and Literature” granted by Jilin University and Department of Education of Jilin Province. At China Institute, in addition to teaching and tutoring Chinese language lessons, Dr. Pan has been offering a very well-received course of his specialty: Understanding Dao De Jing. For more information about this special course, please visit: https://www.chinainstitute.org/school/understanding-dao-de-jing/

Wei Tang earned a bachelor degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Central China Normal University in China, and a MBA from Saint Ambrose University in US. Before joining China Institute, he has 12 years’ experience in teaching Chinese language at Augustana College and central China Normal University as lecturer. Besides teaching, he served as China marketing analyst for international firms, news editor for SinoVision, and is currently a writer and columnist for Chinese Teaching and Studies. His professional experience also includes assignments for International companies.

Wenjin Bi As an experienced bilingual teacher, Ms. Bi joined China Institute in 2014. Ms. Bi holds a MA in Education and is a New York State Certified teacher in teaching Chinese Mandarin and ESL. In addition to teaching Mandarin Chinese and ESL at NYCDOE, she is also a Chinese curriculum evaluator for the NYCDOE Department of English Language Learners (DELLS) and a mark reviewer of New York State Chinese teaching certificate assessment items. Ms. Bi has rich experience in teaching Chinese as a foreign/second language at China, South Korea and the United States. She focuses on developing students’ listening and speaking skills which have been highly regarded and reviewed by her students.

Wenxi (Maisy) Zhang holds a MA in Foreign Language Education-Chinese and TESOL from New York University and a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Hunter College. Before joining China Institute in 2016, Maisy taught Chinese at various institutions including Montclair State University and Hunter College. At China Institute, Maisy worked as Resident Faculty and Program Coordinator in the Adult Language and Studio programs from 2017-2019, and now focuses on teaching group classes and tutoring. In addition to teaching Chinese, Maisy has been practicing Chinese calligraphy since an early age and has won prizes in several national and international competitions. She has been teaching calligraphy since 2009.

Xiaohong Hou received an undergraduate degree in Chinese language and literature from Henan University. She completed an M.A. degree in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) from Beijing Normal University and a second M.A. in Foreign Language Education from New York University. Before joining China Institute in 2017, she taught at Beijing Normal University, Princeton in Beijing, Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, Middlebury College, and the University of Vermont. She currently is a senior language lecturer at NYU.

Xiaojing Zhang received an MA from Hunter College in Education. With over 30 years of teaching experience in both China and the US, Ms. Zhang is one of the most experienced teachers at China Institute. Ms. Zhang is certified in both NYS and China. She completed the STARTALK teacher training programs at Hunter College, University of Virginia, and University of Pennsylvania in the year of 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Ms. Zhang has worked with students with diverse backgrounds and at all levels. Before joining China Institute in 2019, Ms. Zhang taught Chinese and other subjects at various institutions in New York City, including the Flagship program at Hunter College, Brooklyn Technical High School, Long Island City High school, and Tzu Chi Academy School. Ms. Zhang now is a Chinese teacher at St. Michael’s School in Flushing, NY.

Xiaolin Lin holds a B.A. in Business English and a M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a foreign language from Beijing Normal University. 2007, She was chosen as an exchange scholar by Confucius Institute of Michigan State University, where she taught various levels of Mandarin language and cultural exploration courses to high school students on line and adults on campus, and later K-5 Mandarin immersive programs for three years. 2010, She received her M.A. in TESOL and Foreign Language Education from New York University. She is a New York State TESOL& Mandarin Chinese (K-12) certified teacher. Since 2011, she has been teaching various Mandarin language and Chinese culture courses at a private school on the Upper West side of NYC. She has over ten years’ extensive experiences in teaching Mandarin language and Chinese culture at various levels, curriculum design and program enrichment. She loves teaching, reading, traveling and savoring food.”

Xiaoling Dong received her MA in Chinese Classical Literature from Heilongjiang University, and Ph.D. in the same field from Harbin Normal University. She had 17 years of professional experience in teaching Chinese as a second language at Heilongjiang University, with one year of teaching experience in Japan. In addition to Chinese language courses for international students, she also taught Chinese classical literature courses. Since joining China Institute in 2016, she has been teaching various popular courses such as Advanced Reading, Heritage Chinese, and Pre-Advanced Chinese through Videos. Currently Dr. Dong is also an Adjunct Lecturer of Chinese at College of Staten Island. An interesting side note, Dr. Dong is an active poet herself.

Xiaoling (Charlene) Wang: A native Beijinger, Ms. Wang holds a BA in Oriental Literature & Culture from Peking University and a MBA from Temple University, and is CPA licensed in New York State. She worked as an auditor in David&Berdon LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP in New York City before relocating to Hong Kong with her family. During expatriate life in Hong Kong (2000-2007), Ms. Wang helped Hong Kong International School developing after school Mandarin program, and taught Mandarin lessons for HKIS students and parents. During expatriate life in Beijing(2007-2014), Ms.Wang worked as financial officer in United Nation Office of Project Service for 3 year before relocating back to Hong Kong in 2014. Ms. Wang actively engaged in various HKIS school and community events, taught Chinese culture and cooking for expatriate families. After returning to New York in 2018, Ms. Wang continued to pursue her passion in teaching, and completed a TCSOL certification program at Teachers College, Columbia University (TCSOL: Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages). From her rich work and life experiences in business and teaching, Ms. Wang has developed a special interest in teaching Chinese culture and Chinese Business Etiquette. Ms. Wang joined China Institute in 2019.

Yan (Judy) Deng received an MA from Tsinghua University in Education and a BA from Tianjin Foreign Languages Institute in English Language and Literature. With decades of teaching experience as a language instructor in both China and the US, Judy has taught students with various language backgrounds and at all ages. She taught at the United Nations Headquarters, CUNY, and private high schools. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the New School. She joined China Institute in 2003.

Studio Instructors

Alex Hing is a senior student of Grandmaster William C.C. Chen and instructor at Master Chen’s Manhattan studio, and has been practicing Asian martial arts for over 25 years. He is a New York region Yang style gold medalist and third-ranking international heavyweight push hands competitor. He has taught Taijiquan at China Institute for 10 years..

Sungsook Setton, widely acclaimed author of the “Spirit of the Brush,” was trained in brush painting and calligraphy under Chinese and Korean masters. Sungsook also studied Western art in Germany, U.K., and U.S., where she obtained a BFA at Stony Brook University and MFA at Goddard College. Sungsook has had 22 solo and over 170 group shows internationally. She has received more than two dozen awards for her work, including three times Best of Show at the National Juried Exhibition by the Sumi-e Society of America. She has taught Chinese brush painting classes at the China Institute since 2004, from introductory to advanced content, including techniques, materials and key genres such as landscapes as well as birds and flowers. Sungsook regularly conducts workshops around the US.

Jiaxuan Zhang earned a B.A. in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University. He started practicing Chinese calligraphy in his youth, and has been teaching for more than ten years.

Viviane Chen is a devoted practitioner and teacher of Taiji and Spirituality. She has trained with leading instructors in the United States and Asia, including Master Ping Zhen Cheng (founder of Taichizen -“Enlightened Living”), Master Alex Dong (fourth generation of the renowned Dong family of Taijiquan) and Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang (the nineteenth generation standard-bearer of the Chen Family Taijiquan.) She has also studied meditation with Tibetan Master Tsoknyi Rinpoche and received holistic well-being training from numerous institutions. In so doing, she has developed a unique approach to the teaching and practice of these disciplines, integrating key elements of various traditions and creating space to apply them within our fast-paced modern lives.


I never met a teacher so excellent, so prepared with deep knowledge in world literature, in arts, in music, in theater and in Chinese philosophy.

Franco Zerlenga, Classical Chinese IV - Taught by Ben Wang

Thank you very much for providing such an excellent Chinese language workshop at the China Institute last Saturday. It was a very intensive and valuable educational experience.

Student, Essential Chinese for Travelers

I have taken several classes here and Vivian is my favorite instructor so far. She makes things very clear and provides good structure

Student, Business Chinese

Rency was great. Really enjoyed class and learned more than I thought I would

Student, L1A

Class is great. Appreciate that we can send sentences each week that Steve Zhang corrects and comments on.

Student, L1B

Excellent class, feel I’ve made tremendous improvement.

Student, Intensive L3

China Institute’s free tutoring program is so helpful in learning everyday vocabulary outside of class.

Student, Private Tutoring

The content of this class is fascinating. Steve Zhang is one of the most knowledgeable teachers I have ever met. I would love to attend a lecture by him of Chinese history/society.

Student, Reading Chinese Media Texts