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The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society announced that the respective gifts between the sister cities of Saint Paul and Changsha, China, have been shipped and will soon be installed in their permanent homes in Saint Paul’s Phalen Regional Park and Changsha’s Yanghu Wetland Parks.

Phalen Regional Park in Saint Paul will be receiving a replica of the famous Aiwan Pavilion in Changsha’s Yanghu Wetlands Park in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the St. Paul-Changsha sister city relationship.  Chinese artisans will travel to Saint Paul later this summer to install the pavilion designed in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty.

In exchange, Saint Paul is sending five Peanuts characters to Changsha’s park with artwork by Hmong artist Kao Lee Thao, Chinese artist Yudong Shen and TivoliToo, the company that has made hundreds of the statues around Saint Paul. Statues sent to China include Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus and Snoopy’s Dog House with Minnesota state symbols such as a loon, lady slipper, pine and butterfly.  Shen painted the dog house.


In 2015, a “sister park” relationship was established.  The pavilion replica lays the groundwork for the Saint Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden and will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship established in 1988. 

In addition to the pavilion, other structural elements will include a West Entrance Arch, an East Moongate Donor Wall, a Hmong Heritage Wall sculpture that represents the historical connection between the Hmong in Minnesota and the Hmong in the Changsha area.  The significance of this relationship has been reported in previous issues of China Insight {search “China Friendship Garden” at

The total cost of all the future plans for the garden will be about $7 million.  The future plans for the garden include an arched bridge, covered walkway, decorative pathways and a classroom pavilion.

The China Friendship Garden will be built north of the Phalen Park picnic pavilion and east of the Stone Arch Bridge along the lake.  It will be near Public Art St. Paul’s “Minnesota Rocks!” sculpture “Meditation” that was created by internationally known Changsha sculptor Master Lei Yixin in 2006.

The annual pan-Asian Dragon Festival where 40-foot long Chinese dragon boats race takes place at Phalen Park in July.  The friendship garden site was dedicated during the 2016 festival, with a blessing from the Hmong community.  There are plans to have some kind of “groundbreaking” ceremony during this year’s festival that will be held July 14-15.

For the latest information about the China Friendship Garden go to 


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