Into Their World…The Akto Turkmen of China

Very few Akto Turkmen
have heard the gospel.

The Akto Turkmen, who live in the conflict-ridden Akto region of China, are part of the Kirgiz nationality; however, their language and customs are more closely related to Uygur. This ethnic group claims to have originated in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan). Throughout recent years, the Akto Turkmen have endured much conflict, including a 1990 armed counter revolutionary rebellion which led to several deaths of Islamic minorities and later to the closure of fifty mosques and halting of construction for 153 additional mosques.

Despite the harsh landscape where they must raise their animals, the Akto Turkmen are skilled shepherds and goatherds. Their diet consists of animal by-products supplemented with cabbage, potatoes and onions. They store their butter in dried sheep or cattle stomachs.

The Akto Turkmen are predominantly Sunni Muslim and very few, if any, have ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. They observe Uygur and Kirgiz religious festivals, along with some pre-Islamic and shamanism rituals. They are strongly bound to their Islamic beliefs and to several shamanism and black magic beliefs. There is no known record of any mission work having been done in the Akto Turkmen people group. Because of this, the best opportunity for these people to hear the gospel is through the Uygur gospel radio broadcasts, which are aired in the region.

Pray that God would raise up missionaries to take the gospel to this unreached people group. Pray the Akto Turkmen would hear the message of Christ and respond accordingly. Pray that lives and communities will be transformed as a result.

For more information on the Akto Turkmen of China, visit:

(Information compiled from

(Note: The website links above are intended to provide you with more information about this people group. Some of the links are to groups that are not religious in nature but who provide information and background that may be helpful in researching this people group. The content of each of the websites linked to is the sole responsibility of the linked-to organization. Views expressed on these websites do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the staff or writers of Lausanne World Pulse or those of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, Institute of Strategic Evangelism, Evangelism and Missions Information Service or Intercultural Studies Department.)

Laurie Fortunak Nichols is editorial coordinator of Lausanne World Pulse. She also serves as editorial coordinator for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and managing editor and book review editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). She has edited a number of books, including the recent Extending God's Kingdom: Church Planting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, with A. Scott Moreau and Gary R. Corwin.