The cerebral cortex is the main target of analysis in many functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies; statistical analysis can be restricted to the subset of the voxels obtained after cortex segmentation. We used a event-related design and contrasted the cognitive processing of Chinese character and figure in left Brodmann areas 44 and 45, which constitute Broca's region, in Chinese-speaking individual. Participants carried out a visual judgments task on a list of randomly intermixed Chinese characters and figure. The fMRI data were mapped directly onto cortical surface models. Processing of Chinese characters and figure judgments activated a comparable network of brain regions. In Broca's area, the Chinese character judgment task is also similar but more activations than figure judgment task. The result confirms a popular view that this area plays a role in grapheme-to-phoneme conversion.