Mr. Shang graduated from the Peiyang Military Academy at Tientsin in 1909.
Chen Shang first served as a battalion commander and later a staff officer in the 20th Division of Fengtien Army. Then he joined the 1911 Revolution, but was forced to escape to Chefoo after failure of his plans. Upon the final success of the Revolution and establishment of the Republic, he was appointed commander of a mixed brigade by Yuan Shih-kai. Later Mr. Shang became adviser to the Ministry of War.
Upon the outbreak of the 2nd Revolution against Yuan Shih-kai, he was arrested by Yuan's order on suspicion, but was soon released. He was commander of the 1st regiment of Shensi Army and concurrently commander of the bandit-suppression forces in Northern Shensi, China in 1915. He also led his forcer to Shansi in 1916, where he remained and served successively as commander of the 4th mixed regiment, commander of the 1st mixed brigade, commander of the 1st Division, Defense Commissioner of Southern Shansi, and Field-Commander of the Shansi Army Tutung (Military Commissioner) of the Suiyuan Special District in 1926.
When the Shansi Forces were incorporated into the Nationalist Revolutionary Army, he was appointed Commander of the Left Wing Forces of the Nationalist 3rd Group Army. He fought against the Fengtien Forces in Kalgan- Suanhwa districts, was a Field-Commander of the Nationalist 3rd Group Army. His troops being the first Shansi units to enter Paoting and Peking in 1928. In the same year (1928), he was appointed by the Nationalist Government Chairman of Hopei Provincial Government, was a member of the Peiping Division of the Central Political Council, Commander of the Bandit-suppression Forces in Hopei and concurrently Acting Commander of the Peiping-Tientsin Gendarmerie, Chairman of the Shansi Provincial Government in 1931, reserve member of the Central Supervisory Committee since 1929, Commander of the 32nd Army and concurrently member of the Peiping Branch Military Affairs Commission since 1929, concurrently Chairman of the Hopei Provincial Government and Commander of the Peace Preservation Force of the Tientsin-Tangku Area in 1935, Chairman of the Honan Provincial Government.