Hu studied in Belgium on a state scholarship after passing the candidacy examination of Zhejiang in 1908. He earned his doctorate in mathematics from Louvain University, returned to China in 1913, and taught at Beijing University and Beijing Higher Normal School. He helped set up the science department of Beijing University.
Hu moved to Shanghai in 1921 to serve as dean of studies, later acting principal, of the Sino-French Polytechnic. In 1931, Aurora University of Shanghai, which had been served by French Jesuit principals, decided to register itself with the Chinese government. In 1932, Hu was appointed principal to facilitate recognition from the national government.
Hu was not baptized until 1942. After the establishment of the Chinese People’s Republic, Hu, defying the authorities of the Chinese Catholic Church, supported the government’s takeover of Aurora University and was appointed its president. In 1951, together with other nationalists, he initiated the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, urging Chinese Catholics to tread the “love New China” path.
Hu was an elected member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council in 1952. Since 1954, he was, successively, deputy to the first, second, and third National People’s Congress. From 1960 until his death, Hu served as the elected chairperson of the Shanghai Catholic Patriotic Association.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.