University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Global Programs and Strategy Alliance > Confucius Institute

Unit's home page.

Home > Resources for Educators > K-12 Resources > China Day > 2009

China Day 2009

On April 17, 2009, more than 500 high school students from eight Minnesota schools attended China Day, an annual event for Minnesota high school students who study Chinese. The students convened at Ted Mann Concert Hall for brief remarks by hosts Joan Brzezinski, director of the Confucius Institute, Dr. Yongwei Zhang, director of the China Center, and Dr. Paul Rouzer, chair of the Asian Languages and Literatures department. Following the remarks, graduate student Li Yang introduced the students to film director Feng Xiaogang’s work and the students turned their attention to his 2004 hit film, A World Without Thieves.

In the film, viewers are first introduced to Bo and Li, a young couple who have traveled across China together as thieves (or “wolves,” a Chinese colloquialism for thieves). When Li abruptly decides to quit the criminal life, the couple board a train to the eastern part of China. On the train they befriend Dumbo, a country bumpkin who is carrying his life savings in cash, with hopes of finding a bride in his hometown. They also encounter a rival gang of “wolves.” Bo and Li use their criminal skills to protect Dumbo’s money and his innocence. On the train, the two sets of thieves pit good against evil and the result is a suspenseful film with numerous plot twists along the way.

Student reactions

Asian Languages and Literatures Professor Jason McGrath prepared a study guide for the film. Students from Breck School sent their insights based on this study guide as well as thank you notes in Chinese: