Yang Tingjun (1557-1627), together with Xu Guangqi and Li Zhizao, was called one of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.
He was born into a Buddhist family. In 1592, he became a successful candidate in the highest imperial examination and was appointed as an inspector in the Ming Dynasty Government (1368-1644).
In 1600, he met Matteo Ricci. Later, Li Zhizao, one of his friends, persuaded him to abandon his concubine and abide by Catholic canon. Soon, he received baptism and converted to Catholicism, getting the name of Michael.
Afterwards, he fully supported the development of Catholicism inChina, and provided funds and ground for the missionaries.