Birthday: November 24, 1898
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Born Country: China
Born in: Huaminglou, Changsha, China
Famous as: Politician
Spouse/Ex-: Wang Guangmeim (1948), He Baozhenm (1922–1934), Wang Qianm (1942–1947), Xie Feim (1935–1940)
children: Liu Aiqin, Liu Pingping, Liu Ting Ting, Liu Yuan, Liu Yunbin
Died on: November 12, 1969
place of death: Kaifeng, China
education: Communist University of the Toilers of the East
Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese politician and revolutionary. He served as the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee in the 1950s and was also the first vice-chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He was the president of the People's Republic of China from 1959 to 1968. Shaoqi was an active member of the Chinese labor movement since its inception and played a major role in formulating the party. He also contributed to Chinese foreign affairs and soon emerged as the third most powerful man in China. The youngest son of a wealthy landowner, Shaoqi attended army school and studied French. Later, he journeyed to Moscow to study at University of the Toilers of the East. His political career began in 1921 when he joined the recently formed Communist Party of China. Shaoqi became one of the key figures to be eliminated in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution during the late 1960s. Branded a “traitor,” Liu Shaoqi was posthumously rehabilitated in 1980 and was granted a memorial service.
Childhood & Early Life
Liu Shaoqi was born on 24 November 1898, in Ningxiang, Hunan, Qing Empire, in a family of two girls and four boys.
He studied at Ningxiang Zhusheng Middle School and later joined a Socialist youth corps in 1920. The following year, he enrolled at University of the Toilers of the East in Russia.
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Early Political Career
In 1921, Liu Shaoqi joined the recently created Communist Party of China. The following year, he joined the All-China Labor Syndicate as its secretary.
In 1925, he joined the All-China Federation of Labor Executive Committee. The next two years saw his participation in many political campaigns in Shanghai.
In 1925, Liu Shaoqi alongside another communist leader organized Communist activities in Shanghai. He then returned to Guangzhou to organize the Canton-Hong Kong strike that went for 16 months.
He was then nominated as a member of the party's Central Committee in the year 1927 and headed its labor department.
In 1929, he returned to Shanghai to work at the party’s headquarters and later became the secretary of the Manchurian Party Committee in Shenyang (then-Fengtian).
During the early 1930s, Liu Shaoqi joined the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic. He soon left Shanghai and moved to the Jiangxi Soviet.
Role As a Senior Leader
In 1932, Liu Shaoqi became the party secretary of Fujian. Two years later, he participated in the Long March and later reorganized underground actions in northern China.
He then went on to become party secretary in North China and headed the anti-Japanese actions in that area.
From 1939 to 1941, he controlled the Central Plains Bureau as well as the Central China Bureau. His activities during the 1930s allegedly sparked the famous Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937 and gave Japan a reason to kick off the Second Sino-Japanese War.
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In 1937, Liu Shaoqi traveled to Yanan. Four years later, he served in the New Fourth Army as a political commissar.
In 1945, he was elected as a CPC secretary at the Seventh National Party Congress and ended up becoming the leader of every Communist force in northern China.
Liu Shaoqi then served as Central People's Government’s vice chairman in 1949. From 1954 to 1959, he was the chairman of the Congress's Standing Committee.
From 1956 until 1966, he served the Communist Party of China as its first vice chairman. During his tenure, he took up writing to elaborate his political beliefs. Some of his best known works of this time are ‘On the Party’ and ‘How to be a Good Communist’.
Presidency & Downfall
In 1958, Liu Shaoqi made headlines for his efficient speech at the Eighth CPC National Congress where he favored the Great Leap Forward. He succeeded Mao Zedong as People's Republic of China’s president on 27 April 1959. During this time, he started formulating economic reforms to correct the defects of the Great Leap Forward.
Although Liu Shaoqi was acknowledged as Mao's chosen successor, his disapproval of Mao’s policies made him lose his trust. After Mao restored his prestige during the early 1960s, he decided to evict all his enemies from the party, including Liu Shaoqi.
In 1966, the growing problems of bureaucratization and corruption among others led to the declaration of the Cultural Revolution.
Mao gained the power and purged the party of his enemies, denouncing them as "capitalist roaders". Shaoqi was labeled as “the biggest capitalist roader in the party” and was eventually replaced by Lin Biao as the party’s deputy chairman.
Vilification, Death & Rehabilitation
Liu Shaoqi was severely beaten after his arrest in 1967. During this time, he developed pneumonia and was reportedly denied medical treatment for the same. His condition continued to worsen over time and he died on November 12, 1969. However, the reports from his principal physician state that Shaoqi was closely monitored each day by the medical team and was given the best treatment to improve his condition.
In 1980, under Deng Xiaoping’s government, the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China made calls for Shaoqi’s rehabilitation and remove the label of a “traitor”. The government also declared the former leader as "a great Marxist and proletarian revolutionary."
On November 23, 2018, Xi Jinping, Chinese Communist Party's general secretary, delivered a speech in Beijing to commemorate the 120th birth anniversary of Liu Shaoqi.
Family & Personal Life
Liu Shaoqi married five times. His first wife was He Baozhen who was married to him from 1923 until her death in 1934.
From 1935 to 1940, he was married to Xie Fei. Following their divorce, Shaoqi married Wang Qian. The couple stayed together for just a year.
His fourth marriage was with Wang Jian. Liu’s fifth wife was Wang Guangmei, who was thrown into jail during the Cultural Revolution and was tortured for over a decade.
Liu Shaoqi had nine children: Liu Yunbin, Liu Aiqin, Liu Tao, Liu Yunruo, Liu Ding, Liu Yuan, Liu Pingping, Liu Xiaoxiao, and Liu Tingting.