Hu, a native of Beijing, was born as Yuzhen (玉贞). Like her husband, she belonged to the Manchurian minority. Her pen names were Yanyan (燕崖) and Huchun (胡春), and sobriquet, Jieqing (洁青). She graduated from the department of Chinese literature at Beijing Normal University in 1931. She was married with Shu Sheyu (Lao She) in 1931, and accompanied him in the following years and taught literature at some normal schools. She got to know Qi Baishi in 1938, and officially became his student in 1950. She was hired by the Chinese Academy of Painting in Beijing in 1958, as a senior artist. She received numerous awards in her life. In 1980, she held her personal exhibition in Hong Kong, and published her album.
She was a member of the Artists Association of China, and a member of Calligraphers Association of China.
She died at 4:27 pm on May 21 2001 at Hepingli Hospital, at the age of 96.