This article is excerpted fromBiographies of Prominent Chinesepublished in Shanghai in c.1925.
His Excellency Chow Shu-mu was born in Hupeh Province in 1867. During his youth he distinguished himself by his brilliant intellectual qualities, invariably heading the list of candidates at the various examinations which he took. In 1885, he successfully passed the tri-annual examinations and obtained the title of Doctor of Literature. Shortly afterward when hardly twenty years of age, he was made a Hanlin.
Early in 1900, Mr. Chow was appointed literary examiner for the province of Shansi. Later he was sent to Kwantung Province in the same capacity. His educational mission was well performed: the achievements of the scholars he selected amply proving his ability as an examiner.
Appreciating the service Mr. Chow rendered, Viceroy Chang Chih-tung of Hupeh Province invited him to be a professor in the Lianghu College. The success of his pupils in all walks of life is evidence of the fact that he performed his duties to the satisfacton of all concerned.
Later Mr. Chow was appointed a censor; and in the capacity often dared to impeach high officials regardless of their influence.
At the time when the Manchu Court decided to introduce a constitution, Mr. Chow was sent abroad to study the organization of constitutional governments in other countries. In 1907, the administrative organization, formulated by a special commission which met at Longjenyu, near Peking, was mainly the work of Mr. Chow.
Mr. Chow’s next appointment was that of Commissioner of Public Instructions for Kiangsu Province. While at this post he devoted his efforts to the promotion of education. A short time later, he was transferred to Mukden to serve as Senior Assistant to Viceroy Hsu Shih-chang. His duties were to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Fengtien Province, caused by the Russo-Japanese War. Shortly afterward, he was appointed Governor of Heilungkiang Province. At this post he interested himself in agriculture, as at that time the majority of the land of the province was not under cultivation. Through his efforts, a large portion of the land in the province was made into fertile fields.
After the establishment of the Republic, in 1912, Mr. Chow retired to private life for a time; but on the repeated requests of President Yuan Shih-kai he accepted the Position of President of the Administrative Court in 1915, and, concurrently, acted as President of the Commission for the Punishment of High Officials. He was once urged by the President to become Premier and form as responsible cabinet: but he declined the offer.
Though a severe administrator, Mr. Chow is a very amiable gentleman. He spends his leisure time in composing poetry in company with other literary friends. He has made some important contributions to Chinese Literature, works of his which have been published being: “Memorials of Heilungkiang”, and “Poems of Siu Kou Tsai”. He has been awarded the First Class Tashou Paokuang Chiaho decoration.