Uyghur in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



Before 1921 the various Turkic groups in Xinjiang called themselves by the name of the oasis near which they lived. When Turkic leaders met in Tashkent in 1921, they chose the name Uygur as the mark of their identity. Uygur means "unity" or "alliance."

Uygur is a Turkic language, related to Uzbek, Kazak, and Kirgiz. It also contains loanwords from Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Russian, and Mongolian.


In the mid-eighth century the Uygur inhabited part of present-day Mongolia. Around AD 840 they were attacked from the north by the Kirgiz and fled southwest to their current homeland.


Many Uygur cultivate cotton, grapes, melons, and fruit trees through an ingenious irrigation system which pipes mountain water into the desert oases.


Most Uygur follow a folk Islam mixed with superstition. Islam is stronger in southern Xinjiang than in the north. Today, although almost all Uygur confess to be Muslims, few are aware of the time in history when the majority of Uygur were Christians.


When Nestorian missionaries first appeared in China in 635 AD, after they had already been working in Central Asia for a century. One of the forerunners of today's Uygur were the Turkic Keirat tribe. By 1009, 200,000 Keirat had been baptized. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries "the whole tribe were considered Christian." It has recently been estimated there were as many as eight million Christians in Central Asia. In the fourteenth century Christianity disappeared from among the Uygur for 500 years, and they converted to Islam. The Swedish Missionary Society recommenced work among the Uygur in 1892. By the 1930s more than 300 Uygurs had been converted, primarily in Kashgar. When Abdullah Khan came to Yarkant in 1933 he expelled the missionaries and eliminated the Uygur believers in a mass execution. Abdullah claimed, "It is my duty, according to our law, to put you to death, because by your preaching you destroyed the faith of some of us." Despite the presence of many Han Christians in Xinjiang, few have a vision to reach the Uygurs. One visitor reported, "Many [church] leaders openly acknowledge, without guilt or shame, that they do not have such a burden for these people." One church elder, when asked about evangelizing Uygurs, "responded by shouting, 'You're crazy!'" Today about 50 known Uygur Christians meet in two small fellowships in China, although 400 Uygur believers have recently emerged in neighboring Kazakstan. Recent reports indicate that many Uygur in China may be on the verge of accepting Christ.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
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The Korban Provision
People Name General Uyghur (Wee-gur)
People Name in Country Uyghur
Population in China 11,537,000
World Population 11,907,000
Countries 13
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Huihe, Kashgar, Kashgar Turki, Kashgar-Yarkand, Taranchi, Uighuir, Uighur, Uiguir, Uigur, Weiwuer, Yuanhe
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Uyghur
People Name General Uyghur (Wee-gur)
Ethnic Code MSY41z
People ID 15755
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country More than ten million Uygurs live in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. In 1876 Eastern Turkestan was invaded by the ruling Manchu army, and its name changed to Xinjiang, which means "new dominion." Since the 1950s millions of Chinese have migrated into Xinjiang and, by their sheer numbers, have put an end to the Uygur's hope for an independent homeland. Two thousand Uygur live in Hunan Province. In addition, approximately 20,000 Uygur have recently migrated to Guangzhou in southern China..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Uyghur (11,537,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Uyghur 11,537,000
For Primary Language: Uyghur

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1898-1995)
New Testament Yes   (1914-2005)
Complete Bible Yes   (1950)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: ھازىرقى زامام ئۇيغۇرچە تەرجىمىسى Text / Printed Matter
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Uyghur Film / Video
Muqeddes Kitab Text / Printed Matter
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Uighur Language Film Film / Video
Uyghurche Muqeddes Kitab Jemiyiti Text / Printed Matter
Xush Hewer Uyghur audio Bible Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: EnricX   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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