As an outgrowth of the increasing interest and new affiliations in China, the China Institute was established at CSUN in 1982, under the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Its membership numbers more than two hundred faculty, staff and members of the community who are committed to enhancing US–China relations. Since its inception, the China Institute has played a major role in making the CSUN exchange programs with China among the best in the nation. Its achievements include assisting in arranging for the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with 67 Chinese institutions of higher education, an accomplishment which has resulted in an almost continuous exchange of faculty and students; implementing youth programs and international conferences in China and the United States; making arrangements for numerous visiting Chinese delegations; inviting to the campus three Chinese ambassadors to the U.S. to give lectures; and co-hosting the visits of the President of the People's Republic of China, Li Xiannian, Vice Premiers, Fang Yi and Tian Jiyun, and the Minister of Education, He Dongchang.
In conjunction with its role in organizing many of the Pacific Rim programs of the University, the China Institute has promoted innumerable diverse academic and cultural activities, such as lecture series, forums, faculty and student exchanges, film festivals, performances and exhibits in arts. A film Archive is maintained for university use. It has a thirteen-part documentary film on Chinese Art, covering the period from the Tang though Qing dynasties, which was procured through a grant from the CSUN Foundation. There are feature films on Chinese history which have been acquired through the exchange programs with the PRC. In addition, the China Institute has supervised and at times assumed the cost of sending thousands of books to education institutions in China. Its members in the San Fernando Valley Chinese Cultural Association have donated thousands of dollars to establish more than 100 rural libraries in China. It has also assisted in the establishment of the first alumni chapter of a U.S. institution in China. In recent years, the China Institute has facilitated the visits and performances of many CSUN arts and music faculty and students in China, including Women's Chorale performances in seven universities in China, CSUN theatre and film students' joint performances with Shanghai Normal University students at the World Expo, which were highly praised by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and piano concerts and master classes by Professor Dmitry Rachmanov all over China.
A number of publications are issued by the China Institute, including the annual Newsletters, which summarize our exchange programs with China, and advocate new and promising collaboration projects, collections of comparative study papers by Chinese visiting scholars, and reports of research conducted by Chinese scholars during their tenure at CSUN. The China Institute also maintains an active website with updated news and photos on "CSUN in China" and "China at CSUN." The China Institute has been an important factor in the internationalization of CSUN, especially as it pertains to increasing our understanding of China and the Chinese people.