This article is excerpted fromBiographies of Prominent Chinesepublished in Shanghai in c.1925.
His Excellency Kao Ling-wei was born at Tientsin, Chihli Province, in 1869. In 1896, he successfully passed the literary examinations, and was assigned to the province of Hupeh for official appointment. While there, he served as sub-Director of the High School of the Chin Hsin College, and as Superintendent of the Hupeh Military Academy. Later, he became Director of the Hupeh Government Mint. Viceroy Chang Chih-tang, of Hunan and Hupeh, ordered the establishment of an arsenal, industrial plants, and copper and silver mints; also encouraging the establishment of schools in his territory. Mr. Kao participated in all of these activities, to the satisfaction of the Viceroy.
In 1906, he was promoted to Commissioner of Education for Hupeh. This was at a time when the Central Government had attempted to concentrate power in Peking. Local finances were consequently stringent, and funds for education were very scant. Under these circumstances, Mr. Kao accepted the new appointment. But in a few months he was able to increase the number of schools, in the province, by then; and provide the necessary funds for the purpose.
In 1909, Mr. Kao was promoted to Provincial Treasurer, a very high provincial appointment at that time. After serving in that capacity for some time, one of his parents died; and according to the ancient Chinese customs, he retired from his official duties to spend three years in mourning. At the outbreak of the first revolution, in 1911, Mr. Kao went to Tientsin, to continue to live in retirement. While in Tientsin, at the request of his friends, he did all that he could to direct the organization of banking systems along modern lines, in the different parts of the country.
In August 1913, Mr. Kao was appointed Acting Chief of the Financial Bureau of Chihli Province. In September 1913, he was ordered to act, concurrently, as Chief of the Preparation Bureau for the collection of National Taxes in Chihli. He was relieved of these two posts in April 1914.
In 1915, Mr. Kao served as High Advisor to the office of the Tuchun of the Three Eastern Provinces. In August 1917, a new parliament was convened, of which Mr. Kao was elected a member, representing Chihli province. In August 1920, Mr. Kao was appointed Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Commerce. In January 1921, he received the Second Class Tashou Chiaho. In July 1921, he was appointed Vice-President of the Bank of Agriculture and Commerce.
In October 1921, Mr. Kao was appointed Minister of Finance, and was awarded the First Class Tashou Chiaho. In November 1921, he was ordered to serve concurrently as Director-General of the Currency Bureau, and as Director-General of the Salt Administration.
In December 1921, he was appointed Minister of the Interior. In that capacity he received, in January 1922, the following concurrent positions: Director-General of Famine Relief, Director-General of the Metropolitan Municipal Association, and President of the Yangtze River Commission.
In March 1922, Mr. Kao was awarded the First Class Wenhu decoration. In May 1922, he was ordered to serve concurrently, as Acting Minister of Communications. However, he only retained this latter post for a short time. One June 12th, 1922, he was appointed Civil Governor of Chihli; but he did not assume office.
In August 1922, he was appointed Acting Minister of Finance. In September, he was transferred to be Acting Minister of Agriculture and Commerce. In October 1922, Mr. Kao was given the First Class Tashou Paokuang Chiho. In November 1922, he was transferred to be Acting Minister of the Interior. In January 1923, he was appointed Minister of the Interior. In February, he was ordered to hold, concurrently, the Presidency of the Yangtze River Commission. In October 1923, Mr. Kao was appointed Acting Premier. This position he held until January 1924, when he was appointed Director-General of the Customs Administration, to succeed His Excellency Sun Pao-chi, who had been appointed Premier.