Community Arboretum ConstructionWith the start of more spring-like weather, Phase 2 of the Chinese Garden at the Arboretum is moving forward, following the successful installation of the Phase 1 Chinese Garden Pathway and viewing area, and Asian-inspired plantings in fall, 2016.  In early May, construction of the Moon Gate that will grace the entry into the Chinese Garden and Walk commenced. 

A special design feature is the Chinese calligraphy that will accompany the Moon Gate.  The calligraphy, created by Hong Zhang, international artist and master calligrapher, and faculty member at the University of Minnesota.  Zhang serves on the community advisory committee for the Chinese Garden & Walk.  The inscription for the moon gate translates to “Garden of Harmonious Beauty.”

Other Phase 2 elements planned for the Chinese Garden include teak benches for family memorials and tributes, in Asian-inspired designs.  (Memorial benches are also offered at other display and specialty gardens.)

A dedication ceremony for the newest Phase 2 features of the Chinese Garden is planned for September.


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James McGregorIt was obvious that this topic was of interest to many who attended the 16th Annual Bob and Kim Griffin Building U.S.-China Bridges lecture held recently at McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota.  The speaker was James McGregor, author and Greater China chair for APCO Worldwide, an international PR firm.

Prior to the lecture, Joan Brezinski, executive director of the China Center and Confucius Institute, introduced Robert Kudrie, Orville & Jane Freeman chair in International Trade & Investment Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  In his introductory remarks, Kudrie noted that trade is the central cause of pain for the U.S. and more than 6 million jobs have been lost from 2000-2010 while output still managed to increase.  As he introduced McGregor, Kudrie stated that the lecture would be about the future and not the past, and what the options are for now.

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CAAM Chinese Dance Theater celebrates 25 years of bringing the finest Chinese dance to St. Paul, the Twin Cities and the Midwest with one of its most dazzling shows to date: “Keepsakes: A Chinese Love Story” on 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29 at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul.

Artistic director and celebrated choreographer Lili Teng works her magic once again in this world premiere of an original dance drama that invites audiences to enter a world of Chinese rituals, celebrations and matchmaking, where romantic love is pitted against ancient tradition.

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Visiting Minnesota for the first time, Hong Lei, consul general of the Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Chicago, spent several days here recently.  His schedule included diverse schedule of events: a luncheon with the business community, a meeting with the University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, a reception with 70 Chinese visiting scholars, a campus lecture primarily for Chinese students and a dinner reception at Mall of America. 

More than 250 students from China currently attending the University and other invited guests attended Hong’s speech, “Let History be Guidance to Future: Jointly Building A New Type of Major Country Relationship between China and US is the Historic Trend,” was delivered in English at the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 

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By Ralph Beha  

Every two years, Minneapolis’ sister city of Harbin, China, hosts a music festival, with more than 100 music and theater performing groups from around the world.  This August, the Minnesota Chapter of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association arranged for and supported a U.S.-based ensemble, The Braided Candle, to attend and perform at the 33rd China Harbin Summer Music Festival.  

Greenman, Gao and Beha at the Harbin Grand
The Braided Candle is a collaboration between two master musicians in widely divergent musical traditions and genres, who first came together in 2011 to create a unique blend of traditional Chinese and traditional EasternEuropean Jewish folk music.  Gao Hong, a master performer and teacher of the pipa (a Chinese pear-shaped lute), has lived in the U.S. since 1994 and performs internationally and teaches in the World Music program at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.  Steven Greenman composes and performs as a solo violinist with symphony orchestras as well as ensembles with other musicians playing klezmer, Romani and other Eastern European styles.  During their August 8 and 9 performances in Harbin, Greenman also performed excerpts from the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, accompanied by local Harbin pianist Li Mengtong.

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