September 15, 2022

Robin Yuan chronicles family history in Red Bishop


Dr. Robert Yuan and Mr. Ricky Cheng, Executive Vice-President of the United Board, in 2018

Dr. Robin T.W. Yuan began to take an interest in his family’s history during his college years.

“China was very much in people’s minds at the time, so I was thinking about my parents,” recalled Dr. Yuan. “I was aware that my mother’s father was a bishop and I wondered what it was like to live in a communist country, so different from America.”

Decades later, that initial thought has resulted in Red Bishop, a historical novel written by Dr. Yuan about his grandfather and namesake: Robin Chen, China’s last Anglican presiding  bishop. Red Bishop chronicles Robin Chen’s early days as a student at a school run by Christian missionaries to his later life as one of China’s leading Christian figures and a true believer of the Communist Party.

The novel provides a light dramatization of the lives and struggles of his ancestors, with a particular focus on Robin’s career and spirituality and his family life with his wife, Constance, and his daughter, Grace. This novel provides readers with a detailed and engaging picture of the upheaval and struggle that China faced during the 20th century.