Chinese American Journeys: Joan Chen, Pioneering Actress | Committee of 100

Joan Chen is one of the most widely recognized and respected Asian stars in the international film industry. She began her movie career at age of 14 in Shanghai. Her performance in the films “Youth” and “Little Flower” catapulted her to fame in China. For her breakthrough performance in the title role of Little Flower, Chen garnered the Best Actress Award in China in 1980 when she was 19.

In 1981, Chen left China for the United States to study film at California State University, Northridge, where she graduated with honors. In the US, Joan has appeared in over 40 film and television roles. The most notable were Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning “The Last Emperor” (1987), David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” (1990), and Oliver Stone’s “Heaven and Earth” (1993). At the same time, Chen continued to make films for Asian audiences. Her memorable performance in the Chinese language film “Red Rose and White Rose” won her Best Actress in the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Critics’ Awards in 1994.

In 1997, Chen made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed “Xiu Xiu, The Sent-Down Girl,” a story of the loss of innocence of a young girl during the cultural revolution in China. The film was released in May 1999 and has received numerous awards internationally. In 2000, Chen was honored by the National Board of Review with the International Freedom of Expression Award for “Xiu Xiu.” In the same year, Chen was voted as one of the “10 Directors to Watch” by Variety.

Chen, a member of the Committee of 100, shared her “Chinese American Journey” at the C100 Annual Conference in Los Angeles on April 16, 2016. Chinese American Journeys is a series of TED-style presentations that showcase the inspiring stories of extraordinary Chinese Americans.

The next lineup will take place May 18-20 in Washington, D.C.:

Speakers from 2015-1016 include:
NASA commander Leroy Chiao –
AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho –

The Committee of 100 is a national nonpartisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, science, and the arts. Founded by famed architect I.M. Pei, master cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and many other extraordinary Americans of Chinese descent, the Committee has served for over a quarter century as a high-level bridge in the U.S.-China dialogue, fostering exchanges with the leadership of Beijing, Taipei, and Washington. C100 members are all pioneering U.S. citizens of Chinese descent who leverage their collective influence and resources to strengthen U.S.-China relations and serve as a policy resource for the Chinese American community.

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