Shouson Chow

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Shouson Chow
Shouson Chow1952.jpg
Sir Shouson in 1952
Unofficial Member of the Executive Council
In office
9 July 1926 – 8 July 1936
Appointed by Sir Cecil Clementi
Sir William Peel
Preceded by Paul Chater
Succeeded by Robert Kotewall
Senior Chinese Unofficial Member
In office
Preceded by Lau Chu-pak
Succeeded by Robert Kotewall
Personal details
Born (1861-03-13)13 March 1861
Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Died 23 January 1959(1959-01-23) (aged 97)
Alma mater Queen's College, Hong Kong
Winsted Local Grammar School

Sir Shouson Chow (Chinese: 周壽臣爵士; 1861–1959), KBE, LLD, JP, also known as Chow Cheong-Ling (Chinese: 周长龄; pinyin: Zhou Changling), was a Hong Kong businessman. He had been a Qing Dynasty official and prominent in the Government of Hong Kong.


Chow was born in "Little Hong Kong", a village north of present-day Shouson Hill. "Little Hong Kong" was a walled village of a Chow lineage. His father was compradore of the Canton-based Canton and Hong Kong Steamship Company. His grandfather was the head of "Little Hong Kong", who helped Charles Elliot post the first official proclamation of Hong Kong Island in 1841. He had a son, named Chow Yat-Kwong.


Among the third group of Chinese students sponsored by the Qing government to the United States in the 1870s,[1] Chow left China in 1874 and studied at Phillips Academy, Andover (class of 1880)[2] and Columbia University. After his graduation he worked for the Qing government.

In 1881 he joined the Korean Customs Service under Yuan Shikai. Later he was the president of the China Merchant Steam Navigation Company of Tientsin from 1897 to 1903, and the managing director of the Peking-Mukden Railway between 1903 and 1907.

He was the Customs and Trade Superintendent and Counselor for Foreign Affairs in Newchwang between 1907 to 1910. During this period he was promoted to Mandarin of the Second Rank. He left government service after the 1911 Revolution and became director of various companies and charities.

Public Service[edit]

Sir Shouson with Sir Alexander Grantham, the Governor of Hong Kong, in 1952
Chow with Justice John Wood and Henry Gollan CJ in 1929 at the funeral of Mr H.P. White

Chow was appointed a Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong in 1907. He was subsequently elected to membership of the North British Academy of Arts.[1][3] In 1918, he founded the Bank of East Asia with three Chinese partners where he was the Chairman of the Board from 1925 to 1929. In 1922 he was appointed a member of the Sanitary Board, the precursor of the Urban Council, and the Legislative Council, where he served until 1931. In 1926, he became the first Chinese member of the Executive Council, and was knighted. In 1933, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws.

During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, Chow and other leading Chinese figures joined the Chinese Cooperative Council founded by the Japanese military which he was the chairman to maintain public order amongst the Chinese population. They did not suffer from punishment after the return of British rule.[citation needed]


Shouson Hill, in the south of Hong Kong Island, is named after him.


Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Preceded by
Ho Fook
Chinese Unofficial Member
Succeeded by
Chau Tsun-nin
Preceded by
Lau Chu-pak
Senior Chinese Unofficial Member
Succeeded by
Robert Hormus Kotewall
Political offices
Preceded by
Catchick Paul Chater
Unofficial Member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Robert Hormus Kotewall