He hailed from Xingyang 滎陽 (modern Henan province) and lived in the late second century CE. Grown up under poor conditions, he was nevertheless able to enter the National University (taixue 太學), where he learned writing and studying the Confucian Classics.
In the 180s he served as governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Jiujiang 九江.
He often discussed the interpretation of the Classic Zuozhuan 左傳, a parallel transmission and commentary to the Chunqiu 春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals", with the Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 and compiled a commentary to it, the Chunqiu Zuozhuan jieyi 春秋左氏傳解誼. He was strictly opposed to the new-text scholar He Xiu 何休 and compiled a lot more of commentaries on the correct interpretation of history in the Confucian sense.
His books Chunqiu-Zuozhuan gaohuang shike 春秋左氏膏肓釋疴 and Chunqiu Hanyi bo 春秋漢議駁 directly criticized He Xiu.
Fu Qian also wrote the books Chunqiu chengchang shuo 春秋成長說 and Chunqiu sainan 春秋塞難, as well as a lot of rhapsodies, eulogies, poems and inscriptions.
During the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420) a chair for Fu Qian's commentary to the Chunqiu and that of Du Yu 杜預 was founded. During the period of division, Du's commentary was prevalent in the south, while Fu Qian's commentary was used in the academies in the north. The famous Tang period 唐 (618-907) commentator Kong Yingda 孔穎達 used for his Wujing zhengyi 五經正義 only Du Yu's commentary to the Chunqiu, so that the book of Fu Qian went lost.
The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected fragments of Fu Qian's writings in his collecteion Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. Li Yide 李貽德 has published a joint commentary to the Chunqiu, containing those of Fu Qian and Jia Kui 賈逵.