Chow Tsu-chi (Zhou Ziqi) 周自齊

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.

Chow Tsu-chi

His Excellency Chow Tsu-chi (deceased 1923) was born at Lai Hsien, Shantung Province, in 1870. He studied in regular Confucian Schools, and received from the then Imperial Government, the degree of Master of Arts, through competitive examination. His first foreign education was acquired at the Tung Wen College, Peking. Later he attended Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

From 1896 to 1899 he served as Secretary of the Chinese Legation at Washington. From 1899 to 1900 he was Consul at New York City. He was Chinese chargé d’affaires at Havana, Cuba, 1901-1902. In 1903, he was Consul-General at San Francisco. From 1904 to 1908 he was First Secretary of the Chinese Legation, Washington. Then he returned to China, and was appointed acting Junior Secretary of the Board of Foreign Affairs, in Peking. In January 1909, he was promoted to be acting senior secretary of the same board, and, at the same time, was given the appointment of junior secretary. In May 1909, he became regular senior secretary. Two months later he became acting junior-councillor; and he was made acting senior councillor, in August.

Mr. Chow was appointed Director of the Chinese Educational Mission to the United States, in 1910. In August 1910, he was transferred to be attaché to Prince Tsai Hsun’s naval mission to Japan and America. In 1911, he was appointed to accompany Prince Tsai Chen’s mission to England to attend the Coronation of King George V. He rejoined the Board of Foreign Affairs, upon his return. In November 1911, when the late President Yuan Shih-kai was recalled, from his retirement in Honan, by the Ching Household, to handle the serious situation caused by the outbreak of the Revolution in October of 1911, Mr. Chow was made Vice-President of the Board of Finance.

In March 1912, shortly before the adoption of the Republican form of Government, Mr. Chow was ordered, temporarily, to act as Assistant Chief of the Ministry of Finance. Two weeks later he was appointed concurrently, to hold the position of Civil Governor of Shantung. In August 1913, he was recalled to Peking, where he became Acting Governor of the Bank of China. From September 1913 to April 1916, Mr. Chow held various positions in the Cabinet, was Minister of Communications, Acting Minister of War, Minister of Finance, and Minster of Agriculture and Commerce. On June 23rd, Mr. Chow resigned from the Finance post. In July, he and seven others were ordered to be brought to trial for high treason against the Republic. Following this, he remained in Japan for one year. In February 1918, a Mandate was issued by President Feng Kuo-chang, pardoning Mr. Chow and the others who were associated with the monarchical movement.

In December 1919, Mr. Chow was appointed Director of the Currency Bureau. In January 1920, he was awarded the First Order of Tashou Chiaho. In August 1920, he was appointed Minster of Finance, with the concurrent posts of Director-General of the Salt Administration and of the Currency Bureau. In October 1920, Mr. Chow was awarded the First Order of Wenhu. He was advisor to the Chinese Delegation to the Washington Conference; so, in November 1921, he was awarded the first Order of Tashou Paokuang Chiaho. In April 1922, he was appointed acting Premier, and acting Minister of Education. These positions he held until June 1922. In July 1922, he was appointed executive member of the Commission for the Discussion of all Chinese Finance.

Since 1922, Mr. Chow has avoided politics, and has taken an active interest in various industrial and commercial enterprises designed to develop China’s unlimited resources. He is a director and large shareholder in several leading Chinese banking institutions; and is one of the principal organizers of the Peacock Motion Picture Corporation, large distributors of American films, who plan to establish and operate a chain of motion picture houses throughout the interior of China.

Chow Tsu-chi text

A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 20.