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A Meeting of Minds

20 Years of Publishing ChinaSource


Since its launch as the ChinaSource Journal twenty years ago, the driving idea behind the ChinaSource Quarterly has been to bring together a meeting of minds. We have sought to create a platform for diverse views from inside and outside China, encouraging proactive thinking about Christian service in a rapidly evolving environment.

The Journal first took shape during a literal meeting of minds, a two-day gathering at Chicago’s O’Hare Hilton to discuss China’s future. The meeting was convened in the late 1990s under the auspices of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College.

Among the participants were former Institute Director Dr. Samuel Ling, along with a diverse group of Sinophiles that included a journalist who had served as Beijing bureau chief for a major news magazine, an expert on the telecommunications industry in China, a government China analyst, and a Chinese ethnomusicologist.

Retired Wheaton College professor Dr. Mel Lorentzen, who had served as associate director of The Billy Graham Center, facilitated the gathering. Mel steered the conversation toward the need for a new English-language journal to examine China’s growing global role from a Christian perspective, and the idea for the Journal was born.

Julia Grosser, who was serving at the Institute, became managing editor of the new publication. In this role she helped shape the format of the Journal, planned issue themes, and guided scores of contributors through the process of developing and refining their submissions. In recent years Narci Herr has picked up some of those responsibilites, bringing insights from her more than 30 years of service in Asia, with Julia continuing to serve as copy editor.

While the initial issues of the Journal took very much an “outside-in” approach to China, the addition of Huo Shui’s column, View from the Wall, marked a shift toward seeking to platform voices from within China. More writers from China joined in, their contributions brought to the Journal’s English-language audience by a team of volunteer contributors that included Ping and Martha Dong, Ping Ng, Alice Loh, Erick Loh, Tian Hui, and Nelson Cao.[i]  

Recent years have seen entire issues produced under the leadership of Chinese guest editors, dealing with issues such as contemporary Chinese theology and family life.

Originally produced as a limited-circulation print publication for a few hundred readers, ChinaSource eventually went digital, with the last print issue being produced in 2011. When subscription fees were dropped, readership quickly doubled and has continued to grow steadily.

Managed by a small in-house team, the publication of ChinaSource has only been possible through the generosity of scores of contributors who have lent their ideas, experiences, perspectives, and personal anecdotes over the years. In so doing they have helped to tell the ever-changing story of a rapidly rising China, where God’s people, both Chinese and non-Chinese, make a difference as they live out their faith.

This week the winter issue of 2018, “Teaching in China” guest edited by George King, was published marking the completion of 20 years of publication. We look forward to beginning the next decade of ChinaSource Quarterly in 2019!

Brent Fulton

Brent Fulton

Brent Fulton is the president of ChinaSource and the editor of the ChinaSource Quarterly. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of... View Full Bio


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