Mr. Ch'en received his elementary training in a private school and in 1890 he entered the Middle School of Hangchow, Zhejiang. In 1902, when the goverment was Replacing classical Chinese learning with modern education, Mr. Ch’en was selected and sent to a preparatory school in Japan, where he was graduated. After this he spent three years in the First High School of Tokyo.
Later he attended the Tokyo Imperial University. In the winter of 1907, he went to Germany and continued his study of law and political economy in Berlin University. He also traveled extensively in European countries.
Mr. Ch’en came back to China in 1911 just at the time when Republican institutions were supplanting the Manchu rule. Subsequently Mr. Ch’en was appointed by the government to be the director of the commercial department of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, which was later changed into the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Later he was promoted to be the director of the industry and commercial department of the same Ministry in which he served for five years.
In 1916, Mr. Ch’en resigned from that Ministry to accept the post of Councillor in the Peking Cabinet. Then the question of declaring war with Germany occasioned a crisis in Peking. Mr. Chen participated in all discussions of this question as well as the taking, over of German Concessions in Hankow and Tientsin. In 1917 Mr. Ch’en again joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce as secretary with the concurrent post of Councillor of the Ministry of Finance. In September 1917 he was appointed to the Commissionership of Industry of Shantung Province, which he declined. He was again transferred to the Cabinet as a member of the Commission on War affairs.
While in Peking, Mr. Ch’en taught in the law department of the Peking National University and the Peking Law School. He spoke English, German and Japenese with an additional knowledge of French and Latin. In February 1924 Mr. Ch’en was removed from his dual position in Hubei. In May 1924 he was appointed assistant director general of the National Conservancy Bureau, Peking. Mr. Ch’en was elected a member of the New Parliament which made Hsu Shih-chang as President of China. Mr. Ch’en represented Hunan Province.
In November 1919 Mr. Ch’en was conferred the Second Order of Paokuang Chiaho. In January 1920 the Second Order of Wenfu was conferred upon him. In December 1920 he was appointed Superintendent of Customs of Hankow. In January 1921 Mr. Ch’en was given the concurrent position of Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of Hupei. In November 1922 he was decorated by the First Order of Tashou Chiaho. In February 1923 his name was recorded by the Cabinet as candidate Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.