This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
Honorable Chow Cheong-ling, known to his intimates as Mr. Chow Shou-son, a native of Pao An district, Kwantung Province, was born in Hongkong in 1861. After his early education, in China, he was sent by the Chinese government, in 1873, to the United States of America. There, after several years, he entered the Columbia University, New York, as one of the Government students. Upon returning to his native land, he received, in 1881, a government appointment on a deputation to Korea to assist in the establishment of the Korean Customs. He remained in this service for about ten years, after which he was transferred to the Consular service by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai, the late President of China, who was at that time Resident Minister to Korea; and he held that post as one of the Resident Minister’s assistants until the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War.
Mr. Chow returned to China, and, after occupying various official positions, became Managing Director of the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company in Tientsin. He held that post for a number of years, and was then appointed Managing Director of the Peking-Mukden Railway. After relinquishing this highly responsible position, which he held for four years, he was the recipient of a most gratifying testimonial from the European staff, acknowledging, in the highest terms, the services he had rendered. This was a rare distinction, only one other such instance having been known.
He was then appointed Customs Taotai for Newchwang. This position involved many official duties in addition to those directly connected with the Customs service. Mr. Chow was responsible for a territory of several hundred square miles, and had control of all foreign intercourse there. For four years he served in this district, which lies between Shanhaikwan (Great Wall) and Hsin Min Fu, on the Liao River. During his administration, Mr. Chow introduced many needed reforms in the prefectures and districts under his jurisdiction. He devoted his time unstintingly to the welfare of the people, and when leaving his post, was presented with memorial banners and scrolls.
He was recalled by Prince Ching, and given the appointment of Councillor at the Foreign Office in Peking. He was later offered the high position of Minister to one of the European countries, but this he declined, feeling that he needed a rest after his many years of strenuous work.
During Mr. Chow’s thirteen years’ residence in Hongkong, he received from the government numerous appointments, such as: Justice of the Peace, Member of the Court of the University of Hongkong and of the Sanitary Board, Senior Chinese Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council, Member of the Executive Committee for the reception of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and Associate Commissioner of the Committee to represent the Hongkong Section of the British Empire Exhibition. He served also as a member of various other government committees.
Mr. Chow is a Director of the Bank of East Asia, Ltd., of the Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Co., The Tai Tack Reclamation and Land Investment Co., The Hongkong Realty and Trust Co., and of other commercial concerns.
Mr. Chow has been awarded the Second Class, First Grad, Paokuang Tashou Chiaho decoration by the Chinese Government, and the Third Class Order of the Rising Sun, by the Imperial Japanese Government.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 77.