China Institute rings in year of rooster with on-campus banquet

Daily Sundial

The China Institute of CSUN hosted its annual Chinese New Year Banquet Saturday night to celebrate the holiday, which fell on Feb. 9 this year.

The three-and-a-half hour event, held in the Grand Salon of the USU, paid tribute to the accomplishments of last year, the year of the monkey, while welcoming 2005, the year of the rooster.

Justine Su, director of the China Institute, opened the banquet with a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the projects the Institute undertook during 2004.

Su told banquet guests that 2004 was “extremely busy” but rewarding for the Institute, since she and Elliot Mininberg, member of the executive committee for the Institute, went to Shanghai and Guangzhou during the summer to do a follow-up study of former visiting scholars.

“We are very pleased to (know we) made a small difference in their lives,” Su said.

The China Institute offers long and short-term training programs for visiting scholars, as well as leadership training for students visiting from China.

Su also praised Clayton Koenig, CSUN linguistics major, for winning the prestigious Chinese Government Scholarship Council Award last year, which allowed him to study language and culture at Peking University during the 2004-05 academic year.

Frances Wong, a longtime member of the Institute and an active volunteer in the community, won the Institute’s 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. Though she was not able to accept the award in person because she was in China, her granddaughter accepted it for her with a speech made in both Chinese and English.

Wong recently published a book, “China Bound,” that details the stories of her life.

The CSUN Theatre Department was honored for its participation in the Third International Experimental Theatre Festival, hosted by the Shanghai Theatre Academy.

In November 2004, 12 CSUN students and two professors had the opportunity to travel to China and open the festival with their performance of “Blasting Holes in the Night,” a play that uses elements of hip-hop culture to tell its story.

After the accolades, banquet guests were treated to a musical performance by Yuhua Li, who played a rendition of a song from the film “Titanic” on a Chinese violin, in addition to other traditional Chinese tunes. His performance was followed by a 14-person choir, which sang a celebratory song in Chinese about spring, flowers, and the regeneration of life.

Zhang Wei, who hosts an opera music show on AM radio station 1370, was dressed in colorful, traditional opera garb and makeup, and sang part of a Peking Opera Performance of “Farewell to My Concubine.”

Guests were also treated to games, raffle prizes and a buffet of Chinese food.

“(The banquet) is a happy time for family and members to meet and have dinner together,” said Zhong Zhou, treasurer for the China Institute and an assistant professor at CSUN.

Established in 1982, the China Institute was introduced to promote friendship, understanding, exchange and cooperation.