Tsow Tso-hua received his preliminary military training in China and later graduated from the Japanese Military Officers' College in Tokyo.
After his return to China from Japan, he was in the service of the Fengtien Army and participated in all the important wars fought between Fengtien and Zhili (Chihli) and other factions during the last ten years. Mr. Tsow was always associated with the artillery corps of the Fengtien Army and at one time was commander of the Corps.
In 1927, Tsow Tso-hua was ordered to lead his troops to Hinan district in Inner Mongolia to carry on reclamation work and was later appointed Tupan of the District, while in the meantime retaining his post as Inspector-General of the Manchurian Artillery Corps with the rank of full-general.
In 1930 he toured Europe and America to study reclamation projects in the interest of his district and returned to China shortly after the occupation of Mukden by the Japanese troops in September 1931.