From the West Courtyard

From the West Courtyard—thoughts about working and serving in China from our staff and others with experience and insight to share. 

The name comes from a Chinese phrase that was taught in an early 1900s Chinese language curriculum, “有一个人,从西院子过来,”meaning “a man came over from the west courtyard." The idea of moving from west to east, of journeying between these two courtyards, reflects our desire to root our observations in the non-western context and allow the local Chinese context to determine what is culturally normative for life and work in China. 

Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by ChinaSource.   

May 30

A Light that Cannot Be Hidden

by Joann Pittman

On May 21 ChinaSource President Brent Fulton spoke at Emmanuel English Church in Hong Kong. Drawing from his book China’s Urban Christians: A Light that Cannot Be Hidden, Fulton talked about how the kingdom of God has spread in China, despite difficult circumstances. 

May 25

The China Church Narrative, and Why It Matters

by Brent Fulton

What are the real challenges facing the church in China today? 

May 23

Lip-Reading in China

by Joann Pittman

Here’s a question for you: how do you lip-read when everyone is wearing an anti-pollution facemask? One hearing-impaired woman from Great Britain found out while doing an internship in Beijing. She told her story to the BBC in "Toxic Talk: Trying to Lip Read in China."

May 20

A Sociological or Theological Reading of Christianity?

The Case of the Chinese Church

by Kevin Xiyi Yao

Common sense would tell us that what stands at the core of Christianity is its theology, polity, and mission. But when we come to Christianity in China, it is Chinese Christianity’s social impact and its implications for issues such as human rights and China’s international relations, rather than its pastoral and theological developments and challenges, that have received disproportionately large attention in the Western press in the recent decades.

May 18

Above or Below the Line

Facing China’s New Foreign NGO Law

by Brent Fulton

A look at possible responses to the new NGO law. 

May 16


by Joann Pittman

From the series Cities of China

I’ve only been to Dalian once, and that was way back in 1992. I was studying Chinese in Changchun at the time, and a classmate and I decided to head to Dalian for a weekend getaway at the only western hotel in the city, a Holiday Inn. Western food! CNN! It was great.

May 13

Wendy Blazes a Trail

by Tim and Pam Baker

Nearly 10 years ago, at the age of 15, Wendy (Su Ying) joined our family here at Shepherd's Field Children's Village from her home orphanage in Fuzhou. Wendy was born with paraplegia, which left her unable to walk or actively move her body from the waist down. Regardless of her physical limitations, Wendy proved to be a smart, active, innovative, and confident young woman who truly has a heart for others.

May 11

Stewardship Resources for China

by Brent Fulton

What resources are available for the church in China on financial management and stewardship? 

May 9

The Cultural Revolution at 50

A Round-up of Resources

by Joann Pittman

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution, a political campaign launched by Chairman Mao. The purpose was supposedly to give a new generation the experience of revolution; however, it was actually an outcome of a power struggle between Mao and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.