By Greg Hugh  

Lucy Statue by Charles SchultzMembers of the Minnesota Hmong and Chinese communities along with many city and state government representatives recently attended a special unveiling ceremony for Nkauj Hmong Lucy as guests of the Hmong Cultural Plaza Advisory Group held at the Community School of Excellence in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Nkauj Hmong Lucy is one of five Peanuts characters that will be sent to the City of Changsha, Hunan Province, China this spring as part of the Saint Paul-Changsha Sister City gift-exchange project established by the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society to coincide with the 30-year sister-city celebration in 2018.

The program included cultural performances and presentations from leaders from the Hmong community, local and state officials and the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society. It also included comments from Kao Lee Thao, the artist who painted Hmong Lucy.

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By Greg Hugh

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings lost in the NFC Divisional Championship game to the Philadelphia Eagles thus disappointing die-hard Viking supporters dreaming of playing at home in Super Bowl XII.  On the other hand, those who attended the Western Suburb Chinese Association Gala (WSCA) that disappointing evening got to enjoy quite an evening in the elegantly decorated Legacy Adult Daycare Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota. 

The more than 300 guests were greeted by a Snoopy statue that will be sent to Changsha, China, as part of the St. Paul – Changsha China Friendship Garden at Phalen Park project.  Proceeds from this WSCA Chinese New Year Gala will be donated to the project.

According to Linda Mealy-Lohmann, president of the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society (MCFGS), the gala was developed out of a preview initiative to showcase the five Peanuts statues that will be sent to Changsha, by different organizations within the Chinese community.  Chen Zhou, lead organizer of the event, suggested that the WSCA would modify their Chinese New Year celebration plans and make it a fundraiser for the Friendship Garden at Phalen Park.

Zhou welcomed the gathering and went over the program for the evening, which included a song by a male duo, martial arts demonstrations by visiting Chinese athletes who also invited members of the audience to participate, a gymnast performing with ribbons, ball and hoops, a fan dance and another male singer that walked through the gathering while performing.

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By Joy Guo, Contributor

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, the Twin City Civic Chinese American Forum had held its sixteenth public event, a talk and discussion about civic leadership, cohosted by UCA, Beijing University Twin City Alumni and sponsored by the CLF Foundation.

The Forum was set to discuss how to inspire Chinese and Asian Americans to participate in civic endeavors and public service.  Forum attendees strongly agreed that Chinese Americans should be more inclusive, bipartisan, compassionate and respectful with each other in public and civic life; Community leaders should inspire Chinese Americans with different socio-economic backgrounds to engage in all kinds of civic activities. These approaches are ultimately the only ways leading our community forward.

More than a hundred Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans (Vietnamese and Hmong people) came to attend the event and discussed.

The forum was organized by the Peking University Alumni Association (PKUAA-MN), co-hosted by the Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM), Minnesota Chinse Physicians Association, Asian American Center for Excellence, Minnesota Chinese Coalition, the Tsinghua University Alumni Association, and Chinese for Social Justice. This is the second of the four UCA (United Chinese Americans) civic leadership forums, sponsored by the CLF Foundation for the fall season of 2017. The first UCA CLF was successfully held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 30, 2017, just one week before.

Nine speakers from the grassroots, city, county, state and federal level government were invited to give a talk. They are federal judge of Minnesota, state senators, legal scholars, former Chinese city council member, former candidate for state representative, and leaders of local community organizations. During the discussion, they explained how the judicial and legislative branches of government of Minnesota  work; they shared their experience of public service, and discussed the topics that Chinese and Asian American communities are most interested in and concerned about.

Supported by Chinese American Association of Minnesota and its President Mr. Yan Bingwen, this forum is part of a series of mid-autumn festival  celebration in Twin City, MN. President of the Alumni Association of Peking University Jennifer Huang gave the opening remarks, while former president of the Alumni Association of Peking University Joy Guo and Gloria Liao, co-hosted the forum.

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By Judy Hohmann, contributor

Cmty ChineseGarden RibbonCuttingThe first-ever Chinese Garden in Minnesota opened officially to great international fanfare and a watery welcome on Sept. 18, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

Amidst mild rain showers, the “Garden of Harmonious Beauty” showcased a blend of Chinese cultural elements of architecture, rocks, water and plants — integrating artistry with nature.  The new Chinese Garden celebrated the completion of Phase 2 design and construction with global partners, donors and supporters from the Arboretum and Chinese-American community.  Guests previewed a customized pond and garden path, gated viewing platform, moon gate entry, peony pavilion, peony and plants garden, and trio of Qinling Mountain rocks from Shaanxi Provincial Government in central China.

 Dignitaries included University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, who spoke of the long-standing sister state relationship between Shannxi Province and the State of Minnesota.  In fact, Kaler stated  the 103-year relationship of China and the University of Minnesota — with the Pan brothers and friend from Shanghai, who made their way in 1914, from the land of terra cotta soldiers to the land of 10,000 lakes — to study engineering and mining technology at the U.  Currently, there are more than 5,000 alumni living in China, and, over the years, more than 8,000 students from China have earned University of Minnesota degrees.  Right now, nearly 3,000 Chinese students are on campus.

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Shi Chengjun, deputy director general of the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government spoke on behalf of the Shaanxi Friendship Delegation; and Liu Jun, Deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, Ill., also shared remarks about the continuing garden partnership with the Arboretum garden and University.

From the Chinese-American community, Hoyt Hsiao provided a donor’s perspective on behalf of his family’s lead donor role for the Chinese garden path, named for his parents, Fred and Jennie Hsiao.  Kaimay Yuen Terry, who with her husband Dr Joseph Terry, funded the moon gate, recognized the Chinese American Association of Minnesota and the many community supporters of the Chinese Garden.  Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation President Todd Wagner then invited the event guests to join in a toast and ribbon cutting, and to explore the new garden.

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Closing the program was a performance by the Shaanxi Provincial Folk Orchestra playing traditional Chinese musical instruments.  A “family photo” of the extremely talented musicians, dignitaries and community supporters was taken at the conclusion, representing the community brought together by the new Chinese Garden.  The Chinese Garden opened to all Arboretum members and visitors in late September.


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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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