Financial assistance for the Dragon Boat Festival has been provided by the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and the Missouri Arts Council.

Dragon Dance at Global Ties Event

The 20-foot-long dragon danced at the Global Ties Heartland Pop-up event on May 9th, 2024, celebrating Global Ties' 70 years of service to the global community. Our dragon was there to promote the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. Joan Pu, Vice President of the Society, introduced the festival — its history, significance to Kansas City, and what to expect this year. She emphasized, 'The festival promotes cultural diversity and the international aspect of Kansas City.' She also announced that this year's festival will feature over 10 boat race teams, free children's activities, a balloon-making artist, and about 10 international-related non-profits showcasing their work and engaging with visitors.

The dragon dance was a highlight of the evening. The dragon dancers included volunteers from Blue Valley North High School (Madhavenshu Dayal, Bross Xing, Amy Xie, and Tommy Song), Global Ties (Lynda Makori and Adam), and the Sister City Association of Kansas City (Jim Wilson, Wasim Khan, and Marineth Ordinal).

Jan Armstrong donated the dragon about a year ago, naming it Xingjian Chien after the Chinese name of Bob Chien, the founder of the Society.


"Dragon Boat Festival Day" Declared by Jackson County Legislature

The County Legislature of Jackson County, Missouri, recognized and commends the efforts of the Society for Friendship with China and its partners for their dedication and tireless work in fostering the cultural diversity, inclusiveness, and people-to-people friendship. Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Sister City Association of Kansas City, Bo Lings Fine Chinese Cuisine, Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation, and Rotary Club of Kansas City are among the partners to make the annual Dragon Boat Festival possible.

The Legislature declared June 10, 2023, as “Dragon Boat Festival Day” in Jackson County and encourages all residents to participate in the festivities, appreciate cultural exchanges, and embrace the spirit of unity, friendship, and harmony exemplified by the Dragon Boat Festival.

President Teresa Chien, some board members, and representatives of partner organizations attended the legislature meeting to accept the resolution on June 6, 2023.

Representatives of the Society for Friendship with China and festival partners are with Jackson County Legislator and Chairman DaRon McGee at the Legislature Meeting on June 6, 2023.
From left to right: DaRon McGee, Teresa Chien, Fengxian Gao, Jan Armstrong, Melinda Minks, Joan Pu

Front row, from left to right: Jan Armstrong, Teresa Chien
Back row, from left to right: Jackson County Legislative Aide Kimberly Randolph, Theresa NG, Melinda Minks, Fengxian Gao, Joan Pu

Jackson County Legislature resolution to recognize the Dragon Boat Festival, its organizer, and sponsors

Supporting Local School, Wolf Spring Elementary, to Celebrate Chinese Culture
Teresa Chien, Jan Armstrong, and Joan Pu helped Wolf Spring Elementary School to celebrate Chinese culture before the Chinese New Year, on January 20, 2023.

Jan, Teresa, Eddy, and Miles were ready to welcome attendees in both languages.

The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) of Wolf Spring Elementary School contacted us through our website in October 2022 asking for help for a multicultural event during the Chinese New Year in 2023. It asked for stage performance, craft activities, and a table highlighting Chinese culture. Wolf Spring Elementary, at 178th Street and I-69 in Bucyrus, KS, has a Chinese immersion program in which students spend half of the day in Chinese language and half of the day in English to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in two languages. Students build academic fluency.

You might have guessed the result – we collaborated with the high school students to plan for the event. On the evening of the event, Jan brought red lanterns she collected and decorated our table. Miles Kim and Eddie Mu, two leaders of the student groups of Blue Valley North, arrived early to lay out craft supplies and red envelops with a Chinese saying and a piece of chocolate inside.

Miles and Eddie preparing for craft activity.

About 350 individuals attended the event. Over 40 Blue Valley North students participated in the event in different stages, a total of 132 community service hours. They handed out over 100 red envelopes to children and helped children make paper lanterns. The music group of Blue Valley North performed A Spray of Plum Blossoms on the stage.

Musical ensemble by Blue Valley North students.

More photos of the event:

Children receiving red envelopes

Making paper lanterns


Principal Graber and PTO representatives (Shana Chiu and Gwen Wang) thanked the
Society for Friendship with China and Blue Valley North students for contributing
to a successful multicultural night.

Jan Armstrong, World Citizen Award 2022

Racing for Those in Need

Teresa Chien and Jan Armstrong, both in their mid-80s, represented the Society for Friendship with China and Xi’an Committee of Kansas City Sister City Association to make a cash donation to Salvation Army at 3637 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111 on
Friday, July 17.

The Society for Friendship with China and Xi’an Committee of Kansas City Sister City Association, the organizers of the annual Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival, had to cancel the dragon boat festival this year due to the Covid 19 pandemic. In lieu of the dragon boat races, they decided to participate in the battle against the pandemic this year. They will donate $700 to Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri this Friday, after having donated $1,000 to the University of Kansas Health System for personal protective equipment in April.

The Dragon Boat Festival is a major event in Chinese culture dedicated to a famous ancient poet. It also celebrates international cooperation and people-to-people friendship in Kansas City. With dragon boat races, stage performance, and hands-on cultural activities, the festival has become a major community event in Kansas City on the second Saturday of June every year since 2005. This year would be the 16th festival on June 13, which was unfortunately canceled.

The Society for Friendship with China is a Kansas City non-profit organization formed in 2004 for the purpose of promoting friendship and better understanding between the people of China and the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Kansas City has 13 sister cities, one of which is Xi’an, China. Kansas City celebrated the 30th anniversary of the relationship last year. Both cities have numerous exchange activities over the years, including Xi’an sending its delegates to participate in the Dragon Boat Festivals and Kansas City residents participating in Xi’an City Wall Marathon races.

Teresa Chien, President of the Society and Chair of Xi’an Committee, said, “We are one community in combating this pandemic. We support our medical professionals to serve people in medical needs as well as social service organizations to serve people in need of food and shelter.”

Anniversary Celebration 2019
The Kansas City-Xi’an Sister City partnership celebrated its 30th anniversary on November 7 at the InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City. Seventy-nine people attended the event, including Kansas City’s Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McManus, former Mayors Charles Wheeler and Richard Berkley, Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw, Kansas City Sister City Association President Cris Ruiz, Deputy Consul General of China Liming Huang, representatives from Beijing and from Xi’an, and supporters from the greater Kansas City area. The program included a review of the highlights of the 30-year relationship; music and dance entertainment; and awards to individuals, businesses, and community groups who have supported the committee’s work throughout the years. Three Beijing artists demonstrated their artwork – calligraphy and polymer clay sculpture – at the event. In his keynote speech titled “Bridging,” Citizen Diplomat and Kansas City’s old friend An Wei reflected his experiences of how people in the two cities and two countries established and nurtured the friendship in the past 40 plus years.

The nine representatives from Xi’an and Beijing visited Kansas City Foreign Language Academy and discussed establishing a sister-school relationship with the school. They accepted welcome and congratulations from Kansas City’s Council at the City Hall. They also toured Edgar Snow Reading Room at UMKC, Diastole Scholar Center, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art during their visit of Kansas City.

The Vice-Mayor of Xi’an and a delegation of four officials visited Kansas City on November 24-25 and met with Mayor Pro Tem McManus, Kansas City council members, staff from Visit KC, and the representative of KC Jazz Orchestra to discuss education and economic initiatives between the two cities. The delegation toured the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and met with leaders of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. They could not attend the November 7th event due to visa issues but wanted to be part of the celebration of the partnership. Their visit was very productive, and we hope it leads to new initiatives.

Visit by Deputy Mayor of Xi’an and Xi’an delegation. November 2019

30th Anniversary Celebration on November, 7 2019 at the InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City

Chinese Garden Model

Jan Armstrong leads our Garden project.


About Dragon Boat Festival
Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival memorializes the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan.

Qu Yuan - A Patriotic Poet of Warring States Period

Living in the latter part of the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC), Qu Yuan was the earliest great patriotic poet as well as a great statesman, ideologist, diplomat, and reformer in ancient China. He has the reputation of being one of the world four great cultural celebrities. The traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate him. His patriotic influence has left its mark on many subsequent generations in China and beyond.

Dragon Boat Festival and Qu Yuan

Qu Yuan was a minister to the Zhou emperor during the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). He was a wise man who was strongly opposed to the corruption of the imperial court.

Because of Qu Yuan’s success, he aroused jealousy in his fellow ministers. They plotted against him and convinced the emperor that Qu Yuan was a traitor. Qu Yuan was banished and returned to his hometown.

During his years of banishment, Qu Yuan collected legends and folk tales, and wrote poetry. He never lost his patriotic love for his emperor and was concerned about the future of the Zhou dynasty.

The Death of Qu Yuan

Eventually the Qin warriors overthrew the Zhou rulers and proceeded to plunder the country. On the 5th day of May, 278 BC, Qu Yuan learned about the fall of his capital city, and in a fit of despair, committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River. The townspeople, hearing of Qu Yuan’s fate, rushed to their boats to try to save him. Since he was much loved, they tried to prevent the fish from eating his body by throwing rice dumplings into the water. They beat drums to keep evil spirits away.

To this day, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month is celebrated by eating rice dumplings (zong zi) and racing dragon boats. It is also a day for wearing talismans to keep away evil spirits. Adults drink Xiong Huang wine, and children wear fragrant silk pouches to guard against evil.

Modern Dragon Boat Racing

In Chinese culture, Dragon boat festival has been an important holiday for centuries, but in recent years dragon boat racing has become an international sport.

Qu Yuan’s 71st Descendant coming to Kansas City

Qu Wanshen is the 71st descendants of Qu Yuan is come to Kansas City June 14, 2014 as a Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival observer, it’s an Honor for Kansas City and our Dragon Boat Festival.

KC World Citizen of the Year Award: Bob Chien
Photos by Dan Gilbert    Click to see larger photo

Kansas City Mayor Sylvester James Jr. presented the 2013 Kansas City World Citizen of the Year Award to Robert (Bob) Chien, long-time advocate of closer China-U.S. relations, chairman of the Kansas City-Xi’an Sister City Committee and President of the Society for Friendship with China. This is also a nice birthday present - the award is presented at the banquet on October 23, 2013 - Bob's 83rd birthday! Mr. Weiping Zhao, the Counsel General of Chinese Consulate in Chicago, also sent birthday card to congratulate Bob.

A heart warming story --- Wang Lihong
Part II

click here for Part I
The Scholarship is $500=3,100 Yuan. How much does the $500 help? The tuition in ShiDa is 3,850 Yuan (the cheapest), and the accommodation is about 1,200 Yuan per year. A student may spend at least 600 Yuan per month for living. Thus, the total expense for a student in college may be 12,000 Yuan per year. The $500 scholarship may be one-fourth of the one-year expense. The students in harsh conditions can receive the grant from the government, 1,000 Yuan to 3,000 Yuan per year. We can also apply for loans to the bank with low rate. About 6 students in my class applied for it, including me. I applied for a total number of 20,000 Yuan loan form the bank at my college. We must pay back the loans within 6 years after leaving school. I also did some part-time job, making some money, which happened to many students in ShiDa.

Preference would be to increase the number of scholarships to more students? If I have the power or right to give, I will give two students to share, not one student. I do not think $500 is a small amount of money. It is almost one fourth expense to a student for one year. As I know, it is a medium scholarship in similar scholarships in ShiDa. Students may find other ways to get money, such as applying for loans or getting part-time jobs. In addition, there are a lot of poor students in ShiDa. They may come from the villages, and even mountain villages. Their parents do not earn much, so they are in need of money. Let the sunlight shine more students that is my wish.

With the above information, The Society will maintain our Five annual scholarships, but we add two more scholarships this year in honor Lihong and KC marathon team, let's call “Half Marathon/Scholarship” Lihong can make the decision as two scholarships or become four Half Marathon/Scholarship.

Kansas City councilman Scott Wagner and half marathon runner will make the scholarship Presentation.

With Bob Chien’s suggestion, Shaanxi Normal University accept Wang LiHong as a member of Scholarship selection Committee member.

LiHong, Congratulations, keep dreaming and have faith in yourself.

Puppeteer Show

The puppeteers from City of Xi’an, Jun Liang, Yunru Liang, Yi Yan, Xiaoyu Dou gave their best performance on the stage. Their shows include the Princess of Iron Fan, the Concubine of Tang Dynasty, the Dream of Red Chamber, and Zhong Kui. The audience loved the performance and was eager to take photos with the puppets and the puppeteers.

After the Dragon boat races, a thank-you dinner was provided for the guests from Xi’an, the officials from Chinese Consulate and Kansas City, and more importantly, the volunteers who worked extremely hard for the Festival. The dinner banquet climaxed and ended with Chinese puppet shows. What a great event for Kansas City!

Photos by Dan Gilbert

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