1861  — 1946

George W. Hunter

China Inland Mission missionary in Turkestan.

A Scotsman who never married, Hunter went to China in 1889. After several years working among Muslims in Kansu (Gansu), Tsinghai (Qinghai), and Ningsia (Ningxia) in northwest China, he began a ministry among the several Islamic minority peoples of Central Asia in what is now Sinkiang (Xinjiang) Province. Although he considered Tihwa (Urumqi) to be his base, he itinerated widely through the province, distributing literature that he had translated and doing personal evangelism. As he traveled, he helped Swedish mission work in Kashgar and a very conservative community of 200 families of Russian Baptists living in Kuldja (Gulja), Chuguchak, and other nearby cities in northwest Sinkiang.

In Tihwa, Hunter prepared translations of scripture portions into Kazak and a dialect of Kalmuk or Western Mongolian. When the Russians took control of the province in the mid-1930s, he was held prisoner for 13 months and tortured by the Soviet secret police. Upon his release, he was deported by plane to Lanchow (Lanzhou), Kansu (Gansu) Province, where he received medical treatment, recuperated, and helped the missionaries in their work. He tried once again to return to Sinkiang at the end of World War II. He got no farther than Kanchow (Zhangye), where he died.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Mildred Cable and Francesca French, George Hunter: Apostle of Turkestan (1948).

About the Author

Ralph R. Covell

Formerly Professor of World Christianity and Academic Dean, Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado, USA