Li (李)

Li (李)

Family name
name =Lǐ

caption=李; Lǐ
pronunciation =
meaning = Plum
region = China
language = Chinese
search = Li
related names =
footnotes =

: for|other family names romanized as Li|Li (surname)

Li (zh-c|c=; pinyin: Lǐ; Hangul: , Lee) is a family name of Chinese origin.

It is the most widespread surname in China, with about 7.9 percent of the Chinese population possessing this family name (surname, last name). As of 2002, there were approximately 103 million people in China and 108 million worldwide with this surname. To date, this remains the world's most common family name. A Korean surname that uses the same Chinese character, which is often romanized as Lee, is the second most common Korean surname, after Kim. Both the Korean family name Lee and the Vietnamese family name were derived from the same Chinese character as the Chinese surname.

In Taiwan and Hong Kong, and in many overseas Chinese communities, the spelling "Lee" is common. There are numerous regional Chinese pronunciations of 李 e.g. Lì (Sichuan), Lei5 (Cantonese) etc.


According to the "Yuan He Xing Zuan" (元和姓纂), the Chinese dictionary of surnames, the Li surname has a long history which goes back to Emperor Zhuanzu who was the first Li and lived before 2000 BC.

Li was the royal surname of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). About 15 different emperors had the Li surname. Li Yuan was the founder of the Tang Dynasty, which lasted from AD 618 to 906. During this time, Chinese culture and arts flourished and the country prospered tremendously.

A legend about the Li family is that those who are the directly descended from rebel Emperor Zhuanzu have a genetic trait noticeable in their feet. The last toe on each foot would be pointing inward a little rather than being straight like the rest of the toes. In addition, the nail on this foot has two sections, with one section appearing to override the other. This distinguishes the "true" Li's from the other families with the name as they were born with perfect feet.

The family of Chinese leader Mao Zedong seems to have had a special fondness with the Li family name. Mao himself went by the name Li Desheng for a period of time during the Long March, while his daughters are named Li Min and Li Na, while Jiang Qing, his last wife, used the name Li Runqing in her final years. Mao Yuanxin was named Li Shi while working in a factory after his release from prison.


Prominent people with family name 李

(within each category, in alphabetical order by given name)

Government, politics, military

* Li Ao, Taiwanese writer, ROC legislator
* Li Changchun, member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo
* Li Guofan, politician
* Li Hongzhang, (1823 – 1901), general and government minister during Ching Dynasty
* Li Lu, businessman, dissident, former student protestor
* Li Peng, former Premier of the People's Republic of China (1987-1998)
* Li Ruihuan, PRC politician
* Li Si, prime minister of the Qin dynasty
* Lee Teng-hui, former President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (1988-2000)
* Tien-Min Li, ROC legislator and historian
* Li Zicheng, Ming rebel
* The Li royals of the Tang Dynasty
* Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore (1959 to 1990)


* Lee, Ang, acclaimed Academy Awards winning film director
* Lee, Brandon, actor, son of Bruce Lee
* Lee, Bruce, martial arts practitioner, actor
* Lee, Coco, Taiwanese-American singer and actress
* Lee, Dick, Singapore born entertainer now based at Japan
* Herman Li, Guitarist from DragonForce, known for his signature speed and video game-influenced sounds
* Li Han Hsiang, Chinese film director
* Li Lianjie, known as Jet Li Chinese martial arts practitioner, actor
* Li Yong, Chinese television host
* Li, Yundi, pianist, and the youngest to win the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition.

Literature, writing, journalism

* Li Bai (701 – 762), Tang Dynasty poet
* Li Hou Zhu also known as Li Yu (931 – 978), poet and last ruler of the Southern Tang kingdom
* Li Qingzhao (1084 – ca. 1151), Soong Dynasty writer and poet regarded by many as the premier woman poet in the Chinese language
* Li Shangyin (between 810 and 813 – 858), Tang dynasty poet
* Li Yu (born 1610), author, dramatist, producer, director and book-shop owner in the Kiangsu province of China


* Lee, Kai-Fu, founding president of Google China
* Lee Shau Kee, Hong Kong billionaire businessman
* Li Kwok-po, David GBS, JP, OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Bank of East Asia in Hong Kong
* Li Ka Shing, prominent Hong Kong businessman
* Li, Richard, Chairman and Executive Director of PCCW and son of Li Ka Shing
* Li, Victor, Hong Kong businessman and son of Li Ka Shing
* Lee, Ki Young, construction CEO in South Korea, one of 200 most prominent person in his time

cholars, academics, scientists

* Professor Arthur Li, eminent surgeon and former Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, brother of David Li
* Li, Choh-Ming (1912 – 1991), Hong Kong economist and educator
* Li Er (Laozi), philosopher during Zhou Dynasty
* Lee, Junlong, scholar
* Li, Roland, scholar
* Lee, Stephen W., scholar
* Tsung-dao Lee, physicist
* Lee, Wen Ho, Chinese-American physicist
* Lee, Yuan T., chemist
* Lee, Ki Young, construction CEO in South Korea, one of 200 most prominent person in his time


* Li Cairong, a woman who lived longer than 100 years
* Li Hongzhi (李洪志), founder of Falun Gong
* Li Huirong, Chinese long and triple jumper
* Li Shizhen (李時珍), (1518 – 1593), called one of the greatest physicians and pharmacologists in Chinese history, Ming dynasty
* Lee, Witness, Christian minister
* Li Yu, Chinese Olympic speed skater.
* Keith Ly, (李文傑), Film Director and Pianist
* Lee, Laurance H., peace maker of the free world
* Li Si Qi, Emperor

Fictional characters with family name 李

* Lee Bailong of "Shaman King"
* Lee Diendou of "Fighter's History"
* Li Kohran of "Sakura Wars"
* Meiling Li, Syaoran Li, and Yelan Li of "Cardcaptor Sakura"
* Jenrya Li or Li Jianliang (Henry Wong) and Shuichon Li or Li Xiaochun (Suzie Wong) of "Digimon Tamers"
* Li Xiangying of "Angel Heart"
* Lenalee and Komui Lee of "D.Gray-man"
* Li Xiaoyao of "Xianjian Qixia Zhuan"
* Lee, in the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck

External links

* [ Chinese Li surname history]

ee also

*Lì (利) (surname)
*Lí (黎) (surname)
*Lee (Korean name)

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