|Viceroy of Liangjiang|
Minhou, Fuzhou, Fujian
Following the suppression of the rebellion in 1864, Shen became actively involved in the Self-strengthening movement and later worked on the shipyard in Fuzhou (Foochow). He utilized the skill of French technicians and workers – notably Prosper Giquel – to construct modern warships for the Imperial Navy prior to the destruction of the arsenal and the fleet itself during the Battle of Foochow in the 1883–1885 Sino-French War. Concurrently, he also improved the land tax collection system in Jiangxi province.
He also took part in obtaining a peace settlement with Japan, following the Mudan Incident and Japan's invasion of Taiwan in response to imperial disavowals of sovereignty over the islands' native tribes. He was appointed as the Viceroy of Liangjiang in 1875. He personally visited Taiwan and reformed its administration. The island had consisted of a single prefecture at Taiwan (Tainan); the three subprefectures of Tamsui, Penghu, and Kemalan; and the four counties of Taiwan, Fengshan, Chiayi, and Changhua. Shen elevated 2 prefectures, 4 subprefectures, and 4 counties, making the territories smaller and easier to administer. He also launched a military campaign against the aborigines and initiated a building program in southern Taiwan intended to establish a stronger Qing presence and prevent Japanese or European colonization of the area. He died in office in 1879.
He is chiefly remembered in European histories for his belated opposition to the Woosung Road Company's railroad, which he purchased and dismantled in its first year of operation, limiting Shanghai's development for twenty years. Shanghai remained unconnected to China's growing rail network until the line's reconstruction in 1898 and its subsequent extension to Nanjing in 1908.
Shen was married to Lin Puqing 1821–77), the third daughter of Lin Zexu. She exhibited great courage and determined tenacity when under siege by the Taiping rebels at Guangxin when she bandaged troops, cooked for them and cut her finger to write a message in blood.