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.   

Feb 27

Friendship and Discipleship

by Joann Pittman

According to the Institute of International Education, there were 328,547 students from China in colleges and universities throughout the United States in 2016. This includes those enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and “optional practical training” programs. But it’s not just higher education institutions where Chinese students are found; increasing numbers are now enrolled in high schools. The Institute of International Education reported that in 2013, there were more than 23,000 Chinese students enrolled in secondary schools in the US.

Feb 24

Becoming Native to Win the Natives

Cross-Culturally Becoming All Things to All Men

by Jackson Wu

For new cross-cultural workers, Tabor Laughlin’s Becoming Native to Win the Natives is a must read. His book has the rare combination of being practical, relevant, and readable. 

Feb 22

Who’s In?

by Joann Pittman

Even though there was no law governing their operation in China until January 1, foreign NGOs have been operating in China for quite some time. Typically, they were either registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs or operated with the approval of provincial or local officials. The new law now requires all NGOs to register with the Ministry of Public Security.

Feb 20

The Relational Journey of Indigenous Ministry

by David Joannes

Questions for those who are working themselves out of a job, or for those who should be . . .

Feb 17

Chinese Missionaries—Being Filial and Faithful

by Si Shi (四石)

Chinese children generally want to please their parents. Traditional Chinese culture encourages this, and those children who fall outside of this cultural norm may even be looked down upon by their peers. So what do Chinese Christians do if they want to become missionaries? How can they blend their responsibilities toward parents with the calling they feel from God to go to a foreign country to share the gospel?

Feb 15

Milestones in the Evolution of China’s Overseas NGO Law

by Brent Fulton

Earlier this month I wrote a post on the “why” behind China’s new overseas NGO law, which put the law into the larger political context of China. For a closer look at how the law was actually formulated, I recommend Shawn Shieh’s excellent piece, “The Origins of China’s New Law on Foreign NGOs,” which traces the evolution of NGO policy from the late 1980s up to the present.

Feb 13


by Joann Pittman

From the series Cities of China

When I was living in Changchun in the 1990s, as the city was beginning to shed the past and put on a modern skin, I often wondered what it would look like twenty years hence. This video answers the question.

Feb 10

As Time Goes by in Shanghai

A Film Review

by Hannah Lau

Shanghai’s Peace Old Jazz Band is said to be "the oldest jazz band in the world.” The members of bandaged between 65 and 87 years of age, have been playing together at Shanghai’s Peace Hotel nightly for over 30 years. This delightful documentary by German director, Uli Gaulke, features the six sprightly bandmates as they are invited to play at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands—the biggest show of their careers! 

Feb 8

Overseas NGO Law—We Can Help

by ChinaSource Team

Since the implementation of the new Overseas NGO Law on January 1, overseas organizations that work in/with/for China have been in varying degrees of panic. Maybe this is you, and you’ve found yourself overwhelmed with trying to interpret the new law as it applies to your specific situation, let alone embarking on the steps necessary to become legitimized. We're here to help!

Feb 6

New Online Course: “The Church in China Today”

by Brent Fulton

As part of the ChinaSource Institute’s ongoing effort to provide resources for those serving in China, we are pleased to announce our latest online course, “The Church in China Today.”