Dong Renda, China’s First Translator for Samuel Pollard’s Stories, Dies

By Ruth Wang, November 07, 2018 09:11 AM

The Chinese version of the series of the book In Unknown China

Dong Renda

On November 5, 2018, Dong Renda, the translator who introduced to China a series of books about Samuel Pollard and the Miao people, passed away. 

Dong, one of the first Chinese scholars who studied Shimenkan, and his daughter Dong Wen translated In Unknown China into Chinese and self-published the Chinese version. 

Moved by Shimenkan and Pollard's stories, Dong contacted descendants of Rev. Harry Parsons who ministered with Rev. Pollard in Yunnan. He then obtained firsthand written material about the legendary stories. It took him and his daughter more than ten years to translate the series of books that contain 700,000 words about the  southeastern ethnic minorities in modern times.

The series of the book included Tight Comers in China and In Unknown China produced by Rev. Samuel Pollard, The Story of the Miao by Pollard and Frank. J Dymond, Stone-Gateway and the Flowery Miao by William H. Hudspeth, Beyond the Clouds - the Story of Samuel Pollard of Southwest China and Eyes of the Earth - the Diary of Samuel Pollard by R. Elliortt Kendall, and the Ministry of the Rev. and Mrs Harry Parsons at Shimenkan (1904-1926) by the Rev. R. K. and Rev. P. K. Parsons.

The geographical background for these stories started from the Hengduan Mountains in the northwestern part of Yunnan to hoodoos in the central part and ended at Wumeng Mountain in the northeastern part. Ethnic groups like Zang, Naxi, Yi, and Miao were involved. 

The book was published in 2002 and reprinted the following April. It was well received in China and other countries such as the U.K., the U.S., and Japan. 

A worker of a church in Yunnan said," Mr. Dong Renda and his daughters Dong Wen and Dong Xiao made decisive contributions to the study of the Shimenkan history."

Apart from the translation, Dong Renda had a doctorate in the history of nationalities in south China, had studied Christianity among the Yunnan minority peoples, and had written a book in this area. The Chinese version of Samuel Pollard: Pioneer Missionary in China, translated by Dong and his daughter, was supposedly finally released in 2016 after strict approval. 

- Translated by Karen Luo

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