Zhao was the zhuangyuan, the top-scoring candidate completing the Confucian civil service exams in 1796. He was described by the Jiaqing Emperor as a capable official, and in good health, before departing for Ryûkyû in 1800.
On the return from the mission, however, the envoys endured pirate attacks and great storms, and it is said that the harrowing experience had a deleterious effect on Zhao's constitution. He died four years later.
A collection of his poetry, entitled Shíbǎishān fángshīcún (石柏山房詩存), survives.
- Ch'en, Ta-Tuan. "Investiture of Liu-Ch'iu Kings in the Ch'ing Period." in Fairbank, John King (ed.) The Chinese World Order. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968. p142.
- Some sources say he died in 1808. Schottenhammer, Angela. “Empire and Periphery? The Qing Empire’s Relations with Japan and the Ryūkyūs (1644–c. 1800), a Comparison.” The Medieval History Journal 16, no. 1 (April 1, 2013): 175n98.
- Ono Masako, Tomita Chinatsu, Kanna Keiko, Taguchi Megumi, "Shiryô shôkai Kishi Akimasa bunko Satsuyû kikô," Shiryôhenshûshitsu kiyô 31 (2006), 241.