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Bi Zhiwen

Bi Zhiwen

Bi Zhiwen (1801-1861), whose original name was Elijah Coleman Bridgman, was a priest of the United States, the first American missionary to China and one of the earliest persons to translate the Bible into Chinese. He was born in a Christian family in Massachusetts. He was baptized at the age of 11 and studied at Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary from 1826 to 1829.

He had long been interested in missionizing overseas. He landed in Guangzhou City in 1830 as a representative of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In 1832, he initiated China Newspaper Series in English, aiming to introduce China to European and American countries. In 1839, he moved to Macao, and actively took part in education, medication and missionization activities there.

He went to Shanghai in 1847. In 1857, he founded the Asian branch of Royal Asia Institute and served as its chairman.

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