Congressional Gold Medal for WWII Chinese American Veterans Initiative

Learn More and Get Involved

Although the Chinese American community has always strived to be good citizens, history has shown that they have not been treated fairly and need to let their Congressional leaders know that their service to our country needs to be recognized. Like many minorities, Chinese Americans overcame discrimination to serve their country bravely and honorably and we need to encourage the Congress to act favorably on this proposal to commemorate the service of these Chinese American veterans.  

Production Editor Needed

MN Disaggregation Of Ethnic Data

By Mary Yee, contributor



Paeonia Rockii


China is the original home of most of the peonies grown in the world.  The most commonly grown type is the herbaceous Paeonia lactiflora, a very hardy perennial that dies to the ground each fall.  P. lactiflora features diverse flower forms and colors, and thousands of varieties have been selected by gardeners over centuries of cultivation.

However, China is also the home of the tree peony.  It has woody stems that form a permanent framework of branches and, over time, develops into a large shrub or small tree.  It is the tree peony that the Chinese call “Hwa Wang” or King of Flowers.  The general name for tree peonies in Chinese is “mudan (牡丹).”  

Both kinds of peonies, herbaceous and woody, were first cultivated by the Chinese for the medicinal properties of their roots.  Peonies are still widely planted in China today for medicinal production.  But the beauty of peony flowers ensured that the plants soon made their way into gardens and into Chinese art.

Chinese peonies were introduced to the west in the 18th century although the botanical riches of China, including additional peonies species, continued to be explored and documented by scientists through the 20th century.  In 1926, Dr. Joseph Rock (1884-1962), a plant explorer for the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, came across a white-flowered tree peony in the courtyard of a Buddhist monastery in western China.  The monastery, called the Choni Lamasery, was located at an elevation of over 8000 feet in the southwestern part of Gansu Province.  Rock was able to collect seeds from this plant and the Arnold Arboretum distributed the seeds to botanical gardens around the world.  The first flowering from these seeds occurred in 1938 at various locations and the beauty of the flower created a sensation in western horticultural circles.

The flowers are very large, white petalled, with golden stamens that are beautifully set off by the distinctive dark purple flares at the base of the petals.  The plant itself is robust and long-lived, becoming a large shrub over time.  In fact, one of the plants grown from Rock’s original seed collection may still be growing in Highdown, the Sussex garden estate of Sir Frederick Stern, a noted English horticulturalist who published a monograph on peonies in 1946.


By Pat Welsh, contributor

While the Taiping Rebellion was gaining ground, the Qing Dynasty also had to contend with another foreign incursion from France and England.  Russia and the United States also were involved, but only in diplomatic efforts.

By Greg Hugh

Today, few would guess that Shanghai once played host to a bustling community of 18,000 – 20,000 Jews  --  the focus of the exhibit “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai (1932-1941).” For Jews desperate to flee the Nazi regime but barred from entry almost everywhere, Shanghai was the “Last Place on Earth” and a rescuing Noah’s Ark.

By Elaine Dunn -

Mango Poster MangoOnPlateThe Chinese love fruits, fresh fruits.  It is no surprise, then, that many fruits are charged with symbolism, each specifically representing longevity, wealth, prosperity, fertility, etc.  Of the ones that have achieved iconic stature are peaches, oranges, pomegranates and grapes.  And then, there’s the mighty mango.  Mao’s mango.  

During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, idealistic middle school, high school and university students throughout the country learned the sayings of Chairman Mao Zedong by heart.  They adored Mao and carried his red-cover book of sayings - the famous little red book - with them everywhere and called themselves Red Guards.  Their mission was to defend Chairman Mao’s thoughts.  Mao completely encouraged their fervor.  

Not only did these Red Guards relish in destroying everything that linked or belonged to the past, they harbored animosity against other groups in their zest to demonstrate their supreme support of Mao.

 In the spring of 1968, the rivalry between two particular units of Red Guards based at Tsinghua University - the Jinggangshan Corps and the Fours - came to a head.  In vying for Mao’s “blessing,” they threw stones, spears and acid at each other, attempting to prove their group was more loyal to Mao and his teachings.  This was known as the Hundred Day War. 

By Tao Peng, contributor

The formal sister city relationship between Red Wing and Quzhou, China, has a history that dates back to 1994. 

Why Red Wing, Minnesota?  Actually, the story goes all the way back to WWII and the Dolittle Raiders -- an April 1942 U.S. mission that bombed Tokyo with B-25s launched off an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After the bombing, the Dolittle Raiders - a select group of airmen under mission commander Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle - were supposed to fly on to Chinese airfields to refuel.  

Terms Of Use

Terms of Use All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher. For permission requests, contact [email protected] with subject line “Permission request.”


CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Our goal is to develop a mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and business environments and to foster U.S.-China cultural and business harmony.