Famous Chinese Men

The Chinese are famous for their intelligence, dedication and industriousness. China, one of the most populous countries of the world is also one of the fastest growing ones. Often touted as an emerging superpower, China is indeed a great nation to reckon with. Chinese men have since the beginning of civilization contributed a lot to the world in the fields of astronomy, science, religion, philosophy, mathematics, arts, and literature. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever teachers to have walked this earth while the philosopher Laozi is almost revered as a deity. The Chinese are blessed with an innate sense of artistry and aesthetics and Chinese artists and painters like An Zhengwen, Cáo Xuěqín, and Chéng Zhèngkuí have enriched the world of fine arts through the past many centuries.

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 1 
Jackie Chan
(One of the Most Popular Action Film Stars of All Time Known for His 'Slapstick Acrobatic' Fighting Style)
Jackie Chan
96
Birthdate: April 7, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

Jackie Chan is a martial artist, actor, film director, screenwriter and singer and is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing and innovative stunts in his films, which he performs himself. Rumble in the Bronx, Shanghai Noon and Rush Hour are some of his popular Hollywood films. He has a widespread following in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

 2 
Jack Ma
(Co-founder and Former Executive Chairman of 'Alibaba Group')
Jack Ma
87
Birthdate: September 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
Jack Ma’s journey from being a tourist guide to establishing the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba is inspirational. Initially rejected by various companies, he is the second-wealthiest person in China as of 2020. After quitting his post of executive chairman of Alibaba in 2019, he focused on philanthropy and environmental causes. 
 3 
Jet Li
(Actor and Martial Artist Who was All-Around Youth Champion in the National Wushu Competition)
Jet Li
45
Birthdate: April 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beijing, China

Jet Li is one of the most popular Asian actors to have made it big in the American film industry. A martial artist and former Wushu champion, he won a national championship before retiring from competitive Wushu to focus on his acting career. Also a well-known philanthropist, Jet Li is closely associated with the Red Cross Society of China.

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 4 
Yao Ming
(6th President of the Chinese Basketball Association and Former Professional Player)
Yao Ming
33
Birthdate: September 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese basketball players ever, Yao Ming represented the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Known as the Ming Dynasty in the US, Ming's popularity and success in the NBA made him a symbol of China. One of China's most popular sportsmen, Ming is also credited with introducing the Chinese Basketball Association to the world.

 5 
Confucius
(Chinese Philosopher and Political Theorist)
Confucius
23
Birthdate: 0551 BC
Birthplace: Lu, Shandong, China
Died: April 11, 0479

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose philosophy came to be known as Confucianism. Confucianism is often credited with shaping Chinese communities and East Asian societies. Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in the history of mankind as his teachings have had a great impact on people around the world. His philosophy continues to remain influential.

 6 
Yip Man
(Martial Artist and a Grandmaster of the Martial Art 'Wing Chun')
Yip Man
20
Birthdate: October 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Foshan, China
Died: December 2, 1972

Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist best remembered for teaching martial arts to the famous Chinese American martial artist, Bruce Lee. Yip Man is credited with teaching not only Bruce Lee but also many other students who went on to become martial arts masters. A biographical martial arts film titled Ip Man was inspired by his life and career.

 7 
Qin Shi Huang
(Emperor of the Qin Dynasty from 221 BC to 210 BC)
Qin Shi Huang
59
Birthdate: February 18, 0259
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: China
Died: 0210 AD

Qin Shi Huang is credited with founding the Qin dynasty, the first dynasty of Imperial China. He reigned as the first emperor of a unified China from 221 BC to 210 BC. Under his rule, the Chinese state expanded greatly and he also enacted major political and economic reforms. His life and work inspired several films like The Emperor's Shadow.

 8 
Sun Tzu
(Chinese Military Strategist, Writer and Philosopher)
Sun Tzu
22
Birthdate: 0544 AD
Birthplace: Qi, China
Died: 0496 AD
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general from the Eastern Zhou period. He is known to have written The Art of War, which propagated various alternatives to battles, such as alliances and use of spies, to win wars. He is said to be the same as Sun Wu and Sun Bin.
 9 
Lao Tzu (Laozi)
(Ancient Chinese Philosopher and Writer)
Lao Tzu (Laozi)
17
Birthdate: 0571 BC
Birthplace: Chu, China
Died: 0471 BC
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, or Laozi, who is said to have lived in 6th-century BC by some and in the 4th-century BC by others, wrote the Tao Te Ching. He founded Taoism and is a legendary figure or deity. The Tang Dynasty emperors claimed he had founded their lineage.
 10 
Simu Liu
(Known for His Portrayal in the film Shang-Chi)
Simu Liu
62
Birthdate: April 19, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harbin, China

Born in China, Simu Liu moved to Canada at 5. A business administration graduate, he took to acting after being laid off by Deloitte. Trained in martial arts, he initially found work as a stunt man. He is best known for his Canadian Screen Award-nominated role in Blood and Water.

 11 
Zheng He
(Chinese Explorer, Admiral and Diplomat)
Zheng He
21
Birthdate: September 23, 1371
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yunnan
Died: 1433 AD
Chinese explorer Zheng He was also Chinese Ming dynasty eunuch. He was born Ma He, a Muslim, and was named Zheng by the Yongle Emperor, whom he helped to depose the Jianwen Emperor. He became the commander of Nanjing and led expeditions to places such as Southeast Asia and India.
 12 
Dylan Wang
(Actor)
Dylan Wang
58
Birthdate: December 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chengdu

Dylan Wang is a Chinese singer, rapper, model, and actor. He achieved international fame for his portrayal of Daoming Si in the popular TV series, Meteor Garden. Apart from being an entertainer, Dylan is also a basketball enthusiast. In 2019, he participated in a celebrity basketball game and helped his team secure a win at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center

 13 
I. M. Pei
(Architect)
I. M. Pei
21
Birthdate: April 26, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Died: May 16, 2019

I. M. Pei was a Chinese-American architect who drew inspiration from the garden villas at Suzhou when he was young. He is credited with founding I. M. Pei & Associates, an independent design firm, in 1955. Today, the award-winning firm is known by the name, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Pei is known for designing structures like the Mesa Laboratory.

 14 
Xi Jinping
(General Secretary of the Communist Party of China)
Xi Jinping
79
Birthdate: June 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Beijing, China

Xi Jinping, President of China since 2013, is said to be the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong. He is an authoritarian leader and his reign is marked by an increase in censorship and deterioration in human rights . Also, China’s foreign policy under Xi has been more assertive, leading to a deterioration of relations with many countries.

 15 
Puyi
(Last Emperor of China)
Puyi
15
Birthdate: February 7, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: October 17, 1967

Puyi served as the final emperor of China's last imperial dynasty, The Qing dynasty. After Manchuria was invaded by Japan, Puyi became a puppet at the hands of the Japanese and was chosen as the emperor of the puppet state of Manchukuo. He then signed many edicts, given to him by the Japanese, including the one that made slavery legal.

 16 
Chiang Kai-shek
(President of the Republic of China)
Chiang Kai-shek
26
Birthdate: October 31, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xikou
Died: April 5, 1975

Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese revolutionary who led the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and later on in Taiwan until his death. He is credited with successfully leading the Northern Expedition against the Beiyang government, achieving Chinese unification. He was involved in a civil war with Communist Party of China, which he lost in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan.

 17 
Lin Dan
(One of the Greatest Badminton Players of All Time)
Lin Dan
12
Birthdate: October 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Longyan, Fujian, China

With 666 career wins, including two Olympic and two World Cup golds, Lin Dan is one of the veterans of Chinese badminton. He is the only player to achieve a Super Slam, winning all nine major badminton titles. Known for his fitness and attacking style, Dan retired at 37.

 18 
Jimmy O. Yang
(Actor Known for His Role as 'Jian-Yang' on HBO’s Hit Comedy Series 'Silicon Valley')
Jimmy O. Yang
21
Birthdate: June 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: British Hong Kong

Born in Hong Kong, Jimmy O. Yang moved to the U.S. with his parents at 13. Although equipped with an economics degree, he found his calling in comedy and established himself as a talented stand-up comedian. He is now known for his roles in Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians.

 19 
Sun Yat-Sen
(Provisional President of the Republic of China (January - March 1912))
Sun Yat-Sen
33
Birthdate: November 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiheng, Zhongshan, China
Died: March 12, 1925
Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat Sen, also known as the "Father of the Nation" in China, ousted the Qing Dynasty in 1911. He was the first leader of the Nationalist Party of China and laid down the Three Principles of the People, which included nationalism, democracy, and livelihood.
 20 
Ma Huateng
(CEO of Tencent)
Ma Huateng
6
Birthdate: October 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chaoyang, Shantou

Chinese business magnate Ma Huateng, or Pony Ma, is best known as the founder, chairman, and CEO of the technology giant Tencent. His company owns the messaging app WeChat. One of CEOWORLD’s Most Powerful People in the World, he was a delegate of the 12th National People's Congress.

 21 
Hu Jintao
(Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China)
Hu Jintao
14
Birthdate: December 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Taizhou

President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, Hu Jintao is believed to have given shape to the belligerent China that Xi Jinping unleashed on the world. He was conservative with political reforms and reintroduced state control in several sectors. Known for his reserved and modest leadership style, his tenure marked consensus based rule and collective leadership.

 22 
Jiang Zemin
(Former President of China)
Jiang Zemin
10
Birthdate: August 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yangzhou, Jiangsu
Died: November 30, 2022

Chinese politician, Jiang Zemin, served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002. Qualified as an engineer, he joined the Chinese Communist Party when he was in college. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Electronic Industries. 

 23 
Qianlong Emperor
(Emperor of China)
Qianlong Emperor
14
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.
 24 
Cao Cao
(Chinese Statesman, Warlord, Poet and the Penultimate Grand Chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty)
Cao Cao
8
Birthdate: 0155 AD
Birthplace: Bozhou, Anhui, China
Died: March 15, 0220

Cao Cao was a Chinese warlord, poet, and statesman. He played an important role in laying the foundations for the state of Cao Wei, which was formed shortly after his death. Although he was posthumously honoured with the title Emperor Wu of Wei, Cao Cao never ruled as an emperor, but kept Emperor Xian under his control.

 25 
Hu Yi Tian
(Actor)
Hu Yi Tian
33
Birthdate: December 26, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hangzhou

After making waves with his TV debut in A Rush to Dead Summer, Chinese actor Hu Yitian gained accolades and awards for his role of Jiang Chen in the Tencent series A Love So Beautiful. He has also appeared on reality shows such as Twenty-Four Hours.

 26 
Ai Weiwei
(Artistic Consultant for Design of the Beijing National Stadium)
Ai Weiwei
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Named Art Review’s most powerful artist in 2011, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has become a symbol of resilience against the authoritarian Chinese government. Jailed and banned from leaving the country once, he is known for using various media, such as sculpture, photos, and documentaries, to reflect Chinese human-rights abuses.
 27 
Lu Bu
(Chinese Army General and Warlord of the 2nd Century)
Lu Bu
4
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Wuyuan Commandery, China
Died: February 7, 0199

After killing warlord Ding Yuan, Chinese army general Lü Bu ran away to work for another warlord, Dong Zhuo, whom he also killed. After assisting Yuan Shao, he fought against Cao Cao. He eventually lost to Cao Cao and Liu Bei in the Battle of Xiapi and was executed.

 28 
John Woo
(Hong Kong Filmmaker)
John Woo
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 29 
Deng Lun
(Actor)
Deng Lun
24
Birthdate: October 21, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province

Deng Lun soared to fame with the xianxia series Ashes of Love. The star of The Yin-Yang Master film franchise, Lun was named Esquire’s Most Commercially Valuable Artist of the Year. He has also appeared in the series Flowers in Fog and the reality show Go Fighting! 

 30 
Kangxi Emperor
(Emperor of the Qing Dynasty from 1661 to 1722)
Kangxi Emperor
6
Birthdate: May 4, 1654
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: December 20, 1722
Son of emperor Shunzhi and empress Xiaokang, Xuanye, or the Kangxi Emperor, was the Qing dynasty’s third emperor. Apart from signing the Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia, he crushed the revolt of the three warlords, known as the Rebellion of Wu Sangui. He was also known to be a workaholic.
 31 
Li Wenliang
(Chinese Ophthalmologist Who First Warned His Colleagues of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Wuhan)
Li Wenliang
8
Birthdate: October 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beizhen, Jinzhou, Liaoning, China
Died: February 7, 2020

Chinese ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was one of the first to identify the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. In late 2019, he alerted his colleagues of an illness that resembled SARS but didn’t respond to usual treatment. He was reprimanded and later died of COVID-19. He is since regarded as a medical hero.

 32 
Yang Yang
(Chinese Actor)
Yang Yang
4
Birthdate: September 9, 1991
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Yang Yang is a Chinese actor who was ranked fifth in Forbes magazine's China Celebrity 100 list in 2017. Best known for playing important roles in films like Once Upon a Time and I Belonged to You, Yang Yang is the recipient of many prestigious awards like the Sohu Entertainment Award, Youku Young Choice Awards, and Tencent Video Star Awards.

 33 
Lu Han
(Chinese Singer and Actor, Former Member of the South Korean-Chinese Boy Group ‘Exo’)
Lu Han
20
Birthdate: April 20, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haidian District, Beijing, China

Lu Han is a Chinese actor and singer who was part of the popular South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo. In 2014, he was ranked sixth in the most popular entertainment star list published by China National Radio. Over the years, Lu Han has been honored at several important film festivals like Beijing International Film Festival and Fresh Asia Chart Festival.

 34 
Ip Chun
(Chinese Martial Artist and Actor)
Ip Chun
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Foshan, China
 35 
Zhuge Liang
(Military Strategist, Inventor)
Zhuge Liang
1
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

 36 
Liu Xiaobo
(Chinese Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)
Liu Xiaobo
6
Birthdate: December 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Changchun, China
Died: July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese activist, literary critic, and philosopher. He is best remembered for organizing campaigns that aimed at ending the one-party rule in China. He was honored with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights in China. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be honored with a Nobel Prize while residing in China.

 37 
Zhang Yimou
(Chinese Film Director Known for His Films That Explore Sexual Repression and Political Oppression)
Zhang Yimou
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

Part of the Chinese Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yimou is best known for his Academy Award-nominated films Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, and Hero. His most expensive film, The Great Wall, was, however, a box-office failure. He also directed part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

 38 
Guan Yu
(Chinese Military General Serving Under the Warlord Liu Bei During the Late Eastern Han Dynasty of China)
Guan Yu
2
Birthdate: 0160 AD
Birthplace: Yuncheng, Shanxi, China
Died: 0220 AD

Guan Yu was nicknamed Beautiful Beard for his long, flowing beard. Featured in literary works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan was a Chinese military general who served Liu Bei of the Eastern Han dynasty. Lord Guan is now revered as a deity in Chinese folk culture.

 39 
Liu Bei
(Founder of the Chinese Shu Han Dynasty)
Liu Bei
2
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding, China
Died: June 10, 0223

Liu Bei was a warlord in the Eastern Han dynasty. He is credited with founding the state of Shu Han. Liu Bei went on to reign as the emperor of Shu Han from 221 until his death in 223. Liu Bei is best remembered for his remarkable skills as a leader and politician. His life has inspired several TV series.

 40 
Vincent Tan
(Malaysian Chinese Businessman, Investor and Founder of ‘Berjaya Corporation Berhad’)
Vincent Tan
6
Birthdate: 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Batu Pahat, Malaysia

Vincent Tan is a Malaysian Chinese investor and businessman. He is credited with founding Berjaya Corporation Berhad, a Malaysia-based corporation that operates a wide range of businesses. In 2010, Tan was named in the Forbes' billionaire list. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Vincent Tan founded the Better Malaysia Foundation, which grants scholarships and interest-free loans to students in need.

 41 
Hans Zhang
(Actor)
Hans Zhang
10
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Qiqihar, China

Hans Zhang is a Chinese actor, host, and singer. He is known for playing important roles in TV series like Meteor Shower, The Queen of SOP, Boss & Me, and Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties. Over the years, Hans Zhang has won several prestigious awards, such as Asian Idol Awards, China TV Drama Award, and Seoul International Drama Award.

 42 
James Wong Howe
(Cinematographer)
James Wong Howe
1
Birthdate: August 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Died: July 12, 1976
Chinese-American James Wong Howe Known, known as The Poet of the Camera, had aspired to be a boxer but then earned his living as a bellboy and a cleaner, before stepping into cinematography. The Oscar-winning cinematographer used innovative techniques with the camera, such as roller-skating to film fighting scenes.
 43 
Budai
(Buddhist monk)
Budai
1
Birthplace: China
Died: 0916 BC

Legendary 10th-century Chinese monk Budai, is better known as The Laughing Buddha and The Fat Buddha. Named after the “budai” or cloth sack that he carried with him, he was considered an avatar of Maitreya, or the future Buddha. His figures adorn many homes, as a symbol of prosperity and contentment.

 44 
Yongzheng Emperor
(Fourth Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1722 - 1735))
Yongzheng Emperor
5
Birthdate: December 13, 1678
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: October 8, 1735

Yongzheng reigned over the Qing dynasty as its fourth Emperor from 1722 to 1735. He was also the third Qing emperor to reign over the Eighteen Provinces. Remembered for his hard-working nature, Yongzheng's most prominent objective was to come up with an effective government at minimum expense. Yongzheng, who cracked down on corruption, is credited with forming the Grand Council.

 45 
Mao Zedong
(Communist Leader of China)
Mao Zedong
113
Birthdate: December 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shaoshan, Xiangtan, China
Died: September 9, 1976

One of the most significant and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong was a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China which he governed as the chairman of Chinese Communist Party. He is appreciated for numerous development work but is criticised for his authoritarian regime and policies which resulted in millions of deaths .

 46 
Ding Junhui
(Chinese Professional Snooker Player)
Ding Junhui
1
Birthdate: April 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Yixing, Wuxi, China
 47 
Lang Lang
(Chinese Pianist)
Lang Lang
7
Birthdate: June 14, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Shenyang
 48 
Tzi Ma
(Actor who has appeared in numerous international films such as Rush Hour and The Lady Killers)
Tzi Ma
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: British Hong Kong
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 49 
Hongwu Emperor
(1st Emperor of the Ming Dynasty Who Reigned from 1368 to 1398)
Hongwu Emperor
5
Birthdate: October 21, 1328
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hao Prefecture
Died: June 24, 1398

Hongwu Emperor is credited with founding the Ming dynasty, which ruled over China from 1368 to 1644. He reigned as the first emperor of the dynasty from 1368 until his death in 1398. Under his reign, China witnessed many unprecedented political reforms. He is also credited with establishing the famous secret police organization, the Embroidered Uniform Guard.

 50 
Emperor Wu of Han
(Emperor of China)
Emperor Wu of Han
13
Birthdate: June 30, 0156
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chang'an
Died: March 29, 0087
Emperor Wu of Han took over the reins of his kingdom at 15. He introduced Confucian academies to test the efficiency of candidates for government posts, selecting only those who cleared an exam on Confucian political philosophy. He also developed trade along the Silk Road but turned dictatorial later.

Contemporary Chinese men too uphold the ideals of their forefathers. Yang Liwei became the first Chinese man in space while the Nobel Prize laureate physicist Chen-Ning Franklin Yang became known for his work on statistical mechanics. Chinese men have also left their impact in the field of sports and entertainment. Read on to discover more interesting facts about the Chinese men who have contributed much to world civilization.