Hu Jingyi was born on 4 June 1892, Fuping County, Shaanxi. He joined the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in 1910. Following the Wuchang Uprising in 1911, Hu led a revolt in Shaanxi. He became a general of Kuomintang forces during the "Second Revolution" against Yuan Shikai's dictatorship in 1913. He held several posts in the Shaanxi army in the following decades.
During the Second Zhili–Fengtian War in the autumn of 1924, Feng Yuxiang betrayed the Zhili clique when he led his army from the battlefield to execute the Beijing coup, where he detained its leader President Cao Kun, and reorganized his forces as the Guominjun. Hu was named the deputy commander-in-chief and the commander of the 3rd Army as well as governor of Henan.
The Soviets decided to assist Feng with advisors and assistance in arming the Guominjun with the intent of forming another movement like the KMT in North China. In return for arms Feng and Hu gave the Russian and Chinese Communists a free hand in their territories. Feng and Hu sent 25 high-ranking officers to the Soviet Union for military training. However following Hu's sudden death in office on 10 April 1925, he was succeeded by Yue Weijun.
- Odoric Y. K. Wou, Mobilizing the Masses: Building Revolution in Henan, pg. 31-32
- Odoric Y. K. Wou, Mobilizing the Masses: Building Revolution in Henan,
Stanford University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8047-2142-4.