Welcome to the China Center!

The China Center works to build the bridge of understanding, friendship, exchange, and cooperation between the U.S. and Greater China. Through our offices in Minneapolis and Beijing, we provide advice and support to the University community, maintain important relationships, and foster cultural engagement.

Upcoming Events

New Chinese students will have the chance to meet current students and faculty from China and learn more about the China Center and resources at the University of Minnesota.

News and Announcements

The Unbearable Weight of Being Chinese

What does it mean to be “Chinese”? Where should a Chinese-identifying person place their sense of belonging and find safety?

Through personal stories, from past to present, of individuals whose lives straddled a divided world and were squeezed by geopolitics, Yangyang Cheng explores the porous and shifting bounds of Chinese-ness, the human cost of a hardened border, and the power and limitations of individual agency against the forces of the state.

Student Stories

Finding Independence Abroad

Sophia Vedvik

What I enjoyed most about my study abroad experience was the amount of independence I was able to have and how everywhere I went I was able to practice my Chinese language skills.

Historical Timeline

The UMN soccer team

First Chinese Students

1914

The first three Chinese students enrolled at the University of Minnesota: Pan Wen Ping, Pan Wen Huen, and Kwong Yih Kum (Harding). They all played on the University soccer team and made significant contributions to the championship won during the 1914 season.

The Chinese Students' Club in 1915

Chinese Students' Club Founded

1915

The Chinese Students’ Club at the University was founded. For more than four decades, the student organization created opportunities for students at the University to develop fellowship, especially among Chinese students.

Flyer for Ng Poon Chew

First Chinese National Speaks on Campus

1916

Ng Poon Chew becomes the first known Chinese national to give a presentation on the University campus. Known as the “father of Chinese journalism on the West Coast,” Ng Poon Chew was an author, publisher, and advocated for Chinese American civil rights.

Ten Chinese students pose in suits on some steps

Agricultural Engineers Receive Training

1945

Ten students sponsored by the Chinese government arrived at the University of Minnesota. After receiving master's degrees in agricultural engineering and completing a one-year farm internship, the students became the first generation of agricultural engineering scientists in the People’s Republic of China.

Pencil laying on page with Chinese writing

Chinese Language and Literature Program Established

1949

University Professor Richard Mather established the Chinese language and literature program at the University of Minnesota.

Robert Poor visiting China

University Professor in Second U.S. Delegation to China

1973

University Professor Robert J. Poor visited China and gave two lectures. This was the second U.S. delegation to China after U.S. President Nixon’s trip in 1972.

Wu Shaokui

First Chinese Delegation Visits University

1974

An agricultural delegation led by University alumnus Wu Shaokui was the first Chinese delegation to visit the University, sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Science’s Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China.

The first delegation posing for a photo

First Delegation to China

1979

The University sent its first delegation to China, led by Regent Wenda Moore, where four agreements were signed with Chinese universities. The delegation was received by Chinese Vice Prime Minister Fang Yi at the Great Hall of the People.

The study abroad participants outside a building in China

First Study Abroad Program

1980

University students participated in the first study abroad program to China titled “Summer Intensive Chinese Language Institute” at Nankai University. The program had 37 total participants from the University and other U.S. universities.

University band

University Student Band Tours China

1980

The University student band toured China as the first foreign band to the country after the Cultural Revolution.

Magrath delegation in 1981

First University Presidential Delegation to China

1981

University President C. Peter Magrath led the first University presidential delegation to China, discussing collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The delegation also met with more than 100 alumni in Beijing and other cities.

University of Minnesota Alumni Association logo

Alumni Chapter Formed in Beijing

1995

The first University of Minnesota Alumni Association chapter in China was formalized in Beijing.

China Executive MBA participants at graduation

China Executive MBA Program Begins

2001

With official approval by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, the Carlson School of Management established its China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) program in Guangzhou, in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University Lingnan College.

Mingda program participants from Zhejiang Province

Mingda Institute for Leadership Program Established

2001

The University’s China Center established the Mingda Institute for Leadership Training. The first trainees arrived from the Administrative Department of Zhejiang Province.

Participants at the forum

Bilateral Research Forum Held in Beijing

2005

The first bilateral research forum between the University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences was held in Beijing. The forum allowed faculty and scientists to share ideas for scientific exchange, identify common interests for future collaborations and research, and strengthen ties between the two institutions.

The opening of the Beijing office

University Office Opens in Beijing

2009

The University’s first international office was established in Beijing to promote alumni relations, support international admission, and facilitate partnership in China.

American Cultural Exchange Center

American Cultural Center Established

2013

The University of Minnesota Crookston partnered with Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic to establish the American Cultural Center for Culture Exchange in Hangzhou, China.

Flagship Program students in the mountains of China

Chinese Flagship Program Established

2014

The Chinese Flagship program was established at the University. The program combines language training with extensive studies of Chinese society and culture, as well as study abroad and internship experiences.

China Champions from 2019-20

China Champions Program Begins

2014

The China Champions Program, established in 2014, fosters an exchange of culture, education, and sport. The University of Minnesota annually hosts a cohort of Chinese Olympic and world champion athletes and coaches.

Logo for the Considering China webinar series

Considering China Webinar Series Launches

2020

The China Center launches the Considering China webinar series to explore important topics related to China's many facets and to encourage meaningful conversations and reflections.

The UMN soccer team
1914
The Chinese Students' Club in 1915
1915
Flyer for Ng Poon Chew
1916
Ten Chinese students pose in suits on some steps
1945
Pencil laying on page with Chinese writing
1949
Robert Poor visiting China
1973
Wu Shaokui
1974
The first delegation posing for a photo
1979
The study abroad participants outside a building in China
1980
University band
1980
Magrath delegation in 1981
1981
University of Minnesota Alumni Association logo
1995
China Executive MBA participants at graduation
2001
Mingda program participants from Zhejiang Province
2001
Participants at the forum
2005
The opening of the Beijing office
2009
American Cultural Exchange Center
2013
Flagship Program students in the mountains of China
2014
China Champions from 2019-20
2014
Logo for the Considering China webinar series
2020