The historical building group of the Courtyard of the Happy Way (hereinafter referred to as the Courtyard) was founded in 1882 and rebuilt in 1902.
Located in the east of Weihsien, to the northwest of Lijiazhuang Village and by the south bank of Yuhe River, the Courtyard covers an area of over 130,000 square meters, and it has a history of more than 130 years.
Set up by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the Courtyard combined the functions of a church, school and hospital, which helped promote the spread of Western medicine, technologies and education in China. The Courtyard has played a significant role in the cultural exchanges between China and the West. The former Guangwen University located in the Courtyard became known as the "Harvard University of China" because of its imitation of the Harvard University educational system. "Exchanges and mutual learning are what make civilizations flourish.
The Courtyard of the Happy Way acted as a bridge linking the Ea stern and Western civilizations in development and exchanges.
During WWII, Japan launched the Pacific War and in March 1942 they secretly set up a concentration camp in the Courtyard. Its purpose was to retaliate against the restrictions on the activities of Japanese Americans in the U.S.
The Japanese camp imprisoned 2,008 residents from Europe and America (500 were released by the exchange of prisoners of war), including 327 children. The Western residents were strictly guarded and pressed into forced labor, while the Chinese people in and around the camp were cruelly treated. Some Chinese were roughed up, unjustly punished, or even killed. This cruel mistreatment lasted until they were liberated on August 17, 1945.
Like the sites of fascist concentration c amps all over the world, the Courtyard of the Happy Way represents the ferocity of militarism and will always remain a painful memory in human history.
The Courtyard was also one of the main spots for the Weihsien democratic revolution, in fact it was known as "the cradle of Weihsien revolution". Many revolutionists carried out activities here. The famous East China University was also founded here, providing a large number of passionate people for the revolution in China.
In 2019, the Courtyard of the Happy Way (the Former Site of Weihsien Concentration Camp) was announced as an important and officially protected cultural heritage site and a demonstration case of patriotism education.
The Courtyard of the Happy Way has been through a hundred years of vicissitudes.
Today, every building in the Courtyard is a witness to history, gently telling the stories that have happened here over the years to those willing to listen.