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Xu was made a Senior Licentiate in the Qing dynasty at the age of 25, beginning his career in the Law Compilation Bureau, in the Board of Justice. He was in 1908 made associate chief of the high court of justice in the province of Fengtian, part of the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo. Among Xu's career highlights are his accompaniment of Hsu Chien, at the time a high judicial officer in Beijing, on a trip through the Europe and the United States; his appointment as minister of justice in 1912; his appointment as minister of the interior in 1916; and his appointment, in 1924, to chief secretary of Marshal Tuan Chi-jui, who was head of the Provisional Government of China. Xu was later the Chinese ambassador to Japan, and the chairman of a Chinese delegation for peace negotiations with KMT China.
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