The 18th Annual ChinaFest

The 18th Annual ChinaFest

February 2-5, 2023

Now in its 18th year, ChinaFest is an annual Richmond city and University tradition that offers discussion, film, and other cultural resources to promote better understanding between the peoples of China and the United States. The University of Richmond and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) partner with The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding on programming. This year’s programming includes the annual Irby B. Brown lecture, three films, and student contributions about their lives in China.

2022 ChinaFest Archive

Opening Lecture | Student-Created Media | Feature Films | Student Experience | Partners


Named in honor of the late University of Richmond professor of English and stalwart ChinaFest partner with Rose Chen, the annual Irby B. Brown Lecture features thought leaders on China who serve as keynote speakers to launch each ChinaFest.

Entangled Engagement: Enchantment,
Expectations, Disillusion, and the Repulsion
in the US and China Relationship

Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m.
Carole Weinstein International Center

This year's speaker is Mr. Handel Lee. His talk is based upon observations from working and living in China for 27 years and the happenings that caused the relationship to swerve back and forth somewhere between alliance and loathing.

Handel LeeHandel Lee is a senior partner and a member of the International Management Committee of King & Wood Mallesons, a global law firm with over 3000 lawyers. He became one of the earliest US lawyers to practice in China in 1991 when he went to Beijing to establish Skadden Arps’ China practice. A native of Washington, DC, Mr. Lee obtained his BA from the University of Virginia and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

Outside of the practice of law, Mr. Lee has been instrumental in introducing western contemporary arts, architecture, fashion, wine, fine dining, [and American motorcycles] into China with many projects, chief among them: co-Founder/Partner, Beijing Center for the Arts, 2008 (at Legation Quarter); Founder/Partner, Shanghai Gallery of Art, 2004 (at Three on the Bund); Developer/Partner, Three on the Bund, Shanghai, 2004; Founder/Owner, The Courtyard Restaurant and Gallery, Beijing, 1996.

Mr. Lee has also been appointed as: Vice Chair, Advisory Board, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (current); Member of Board of Directors, Jane Goodall International, and the China Advisory Boards of Christie’s and the Lincoln Center Global. His recognitions in law and society, include: 2006 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award, Mont Blanc Foundation; Order of the Star of Italy (rank of Knight Commander), 2007, and Georgetown Law’s Paul R. Dean Award, 2008. He is a member of Board of Visitors, Georgetown University Law Center, as well as The Committee of 100.

Co-sponsored with the UR Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.


The Hometowns Project

This year, the Hometowns Project continues to grow, with yet another quaint introduction and guided tour of a city in China that one of our students calls home.

Mo (Maggie) SongCome along with Mo (Maggie) Song, '26 as she gives viewers an inside look at her hometown.


Coordinated by the UR Chinese Students & Scholars Association:.


ChinaFest Film Weekend

Each year, ChinaFest offers a variety of Chinese films, both classic and contemporary. Following two years of streaming selections during the pandemic, we are enthused to again offer three films screened on campus at Ukrop Auditorium in the Robins School of Business.

The Wandering Earth

Dir. Frant Gwo, China, 2019, 125 min.

In the year 2061 scientists learn that the sun is growing and becoming hotter, threatening all life on earth. In order to alter this fate, nations and governments unite and create a plan: build propulsion engines across the northern hemisphere to move earth out of its solar system into a new one. With mishaps along the journey, earth gets pulled into Jupiter’s gravitational field, and difficult decisions must be made to avert destruction-even those sacrificing human life.

Introduction and discussion led by:
Tim Wen, ’25.

Friday, February 3, 3:30 p.m.
Ukrop Auditorium, Robins School of Business

Ne Zha

Dir. Yu Yang, China, 2019, 110 min.

Ne Zha is a born little hellion. He’s never happier than when he’s being destructive and causing trouble, but it’s not entirely his fault. From an early age his parents lied and told him that he was born of the Spirit Pearl, when in reality he bears the Demon Pearl. Ne Zha’s fate is to be killed by a lightning bolt during his childhood, but can his rambunctious traits and demeanor free him from this curse? Guardians and mentors from other realms lead him on a series of action-packed adventures.

Introduction and discussion led by:
Zhiang Fan, ’25.

Sunday, February 5, 3:30 p.m.
Ukrop Auditorium, Robins School of Business

The Captain

Dir. Andrew Lau China, 2019, 111 min.

Liu Changjian, dedicated family man and commercial pilot, promises his daughter that he will return in time for her birthday. But the unexpected happens at 30,000 feet: the cockpit windshield shatters and the aircraft suddenly loses pressure. Struggling to remain conscious and fighting cold temperatures, Liu and his crew are challenged to maintain passenger safety. As panic sets in, it takes a team effort and masterful navigation to overcome a decreasing air supply, stormy weather, and other challenges to guide the flight to safety.

Introduction and discussion led by:
Zae Will, ’26

Sunday, February 5, 5:30 p.m.
Ukrop Auditorium, Robins School of Business


Ready, set, Go

First-year University of Richmond student Silvia Chen has been playing Go as long as she can remember.

“My dad showed me the pieces when I was only a month old,” she said, “and I’ve been playing ever since.”

Chen attended school in China specifically to train in Go from when she was 2 until she was 15. Go is an ancient Chinese boardgame, played with two opponents, who each have... (continue reading)

Highlights from the 2022 CSSA Lunar New Year Gala at UR
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The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding
About ChinaFest


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)
ChinaFest Family Day