China Institute Celebrated its 35th Annual Blue Cloud Gala


Photo credit: Gonzalo Marroqin/PMC via Getty Images

China Institute celebrated its 2019 Blue Cloud Gala on November 25 at The Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City, raising needed funds to support its work and mission to help better educate Americans about China.

Highlights from the event included a cocktail reception, a live auction with Mr. C.K. Swett, remarks by Huang Ping, Chinese Consul General in New York, interactive digital drip art installations by Fou Gallery artist Liu Chang, and a raffle. Arthur Chi’en, WNYW Fox 5 contributor and Emmy winning journalist, served as master of ceremonies.

35th Annual Blue Cloud Gala’s Honorees included:

PIN NI, President, Wanxiang America Corporation: Pin Ni is the President of Wanxiang America Corporation, the company he started in 1994. The company’s revenue has grown to $4 Billion to date, incorporating automotive, clean energy, and real estate investments and advancements with operations in 27 U.S. states. Mr. Ni serves as vice chair of China General Chamber of Commerce – USA and board director of World Business Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and The Nature Conservancy Illinois Chapter. He is a member of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy.


ZHANG HUAN, Visual and Performance Artist: Zhang Huan is one of the most vital, influential and provocative contemporary artists working today. Notable one-person exhibitions and installations include: Altered States (2007–08) at the Asia Society, New York; Three-Legged Buddha, Royal Academy of Arts, Annenberg Courtyard, London (2007–08); Dawn of Time, Shanghai Art Museum (2010); Hope Tunnel, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2010), Soul and Matter, Forte di Belvedere and Palazzo Vecchio (2013); Evoking Tradition, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York (2014); and My Temple, Saltzburg, Austria (2015). In 2018, MoMA PS1, New York, exhibited Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan.

SOPHIA SHENG, China Institute Trustee and Art Patron: Sophia Sheng had a successful career with IBM in their Internal Telecommunications area. After retiring, she became a strong supporter of China Institute. As Chair of the Development and Building Committees at China Institute, Sophia was instrumental in orchestrating the organization’s move to Lower Manhattan and continues to manage the expansion of China Institute’s space. She has also pushed for greater engagement around food and fashion and deeper connections to artists creating commentary and unique work that mirror the complexity of China today. In recent years, Sophia has assembled a most impressive and diverse collection of Contemporary Chinese Art, with a special emphasis on sculpture. In addition to their deep patronage of China Institute, Sophia and her husband Abel are supporters of Chinatown Health Clinic, Rutgers University, Newark Museum and the Honolulu Museum.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to:

EZRA VOGEL, Professor, Harvard University: Ezra Vogel is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan in 1950 he received his Ph.D. in 1958. Vogel succeeded John Fairbank to become the second Director (1972-1977) of Harvard’s East Asian Research Center and Chairman of the Council for East Asian Studies (1977-1980). He was Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Center for International Affairs (1980-1987) and, since 1987, Honorary Director. He was Chairman of the undergraduate concentration in East Asian Studies from its inception in 1972 until 1991. He was Director of the Fairbank Center (1995-1999) and the first Director of the Asia Center (1997-1999).

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