In this editorial introduction, we present what motivated us to organise this collection of studies on family language policy and planning (FLPP) in the Chinese contexts. In order to better understand why ethnic minority languages and fangyans (also known as dialects or regionalects) are challenged by the official Chinese language, Putonghua, the introduction situates this group of studies in the disciplinary context, and proposes the family as a critical site where macro and meso language policies penetrate the private domain and influence the process of family language decisions. By looking at the interactions between families, schools, communities and workplaces, we can also trace the sociolinguistic and political environments in which language shift takes place. In the discussion of these contextual factors in China, we argue for the need to explore family and language changes in Chinese contexts. The introduction concludes with an overview of the studies included in this special issue, highlighting the key claims put forward by the contributors.