1890  — 1987

Zhao Enci

Y.T. Chiu, Chiu Yan Tsz

Educator, mission leader, pastor

Born in Guangzhou April 14, 1890 Zhao, Enci was the son of C. C. Chiu, a pharmaceutical chemist and businessman in the shipping industry in Hong Kong. Chiu was born in Guangzhou and moved with his family from Guangzhou to Hong Kong in 1893. He spent time in Portland, Oregon as a younger man. He was an ordained deacon and treasurer of a Baptist church in Hong Kong.

He was the grandson of Wong Mei (The Rev. Mei Wong), who became a Christian in California in about 1860. He is identified by Zhao Enci as the “first ordained Chinese Baptist pastor in China.”

Zhao Enci was baptized at age 15 (1905) into membership in the Baptist church in Hong Kong where his father served as an ordained deacon. From 1908-1914, while in undergraduate studies in chemistry and education at University of California, Berkeley, he taught Sunday School in two local Chinese missions and served as a teacher and assistant superintendent at the Methodist Chinese Mission evening school in Berkeley (1910-1914). For two years, Zhao was associate general secretary of the Chinese Students’ Christian Association of America. In 1914-15, he earned an M.A., in chemistry and education, at Columbia University in New York City. Returning to China in 1915, he accepted a faculty position at the Canton Christian College (after 1926 known as Lingnan University) as professor of chemistry and chairman of the Religious Works Committee. Although his parents objected, wanting a more prestigious position in society for him, he explained that he chose to serve God’s Kingdom, where Christian character and service were of greater value than material gain.

In 1916, he married Wen Jizhen, a young teacher from a Hong Kong Baptist family, and they worked in partnership in education through several decades. During 1925-27, Zhao obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Cornell University. He served nearly 25 years as superintendent of the United Brethren Mission in China as well as full time professor at CCC/Lingnan.

In 1949, Zhao moved from Guangzhou to Hong Kong and established the United Brethren (Heap Gay) Church in Hong Kong in 1950. From 1954-1959, Zhao taught chemistry courses at Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana and took courses to earn his bachelor of divinity at the Huntington College Seminary. From 1959 until 1967, Zhao served as superintendent of the United Brethren conference in Hong Kong. Zhao retired in 1967 and moved to live with his daughter in Burbank, California until his death in 1987.


  • Luke S. Fetters, “Sovereign Foundations and Educational Antecedents to the Hong Kong Conference, Church of the United Brethren in Christ,” paper for a conference entitledMissionaries and Translation: Sino-Western Cultural Exchange in Early Modern China, 1850-1950 held at Peking University in May 2004. [fuller treatment in his dissertation and S&L v. 3 chapter]
  • Luke S. Fetters, “The Church of the United Brethren in Christ Support of the Community Education Work of Moy Ling among the Chinese in Portland, Oregon, 1882-1931: Implications for a Missiological Understanding of Partnership,” unpublished dissertation completed in 2005 at Ball State University Graduate School.

About the Author

Carol Lee Hamrin

George Mason University Research Professor and Senior Associate for Global China Center