Chao Deren was born in Qingfeng, Henan Province, in 1948. He worked in the cultural centre of the Dalian Office of the Chinese railways, and in the Mass Art centre in the same city. He was later attached to the Dalian Painting Academy.
Chao specializes in propaganda paintings. He cooperated with Fei Changfu, Liu Renjie, Song Huimin, Yu Zhenli and Wang Baishun.