Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese communist revolutionary, politician, and statesman who lived between 1898 and 1969.
He was born in Hunan province to a landowner of moderate wealth, but moved to Shanghai to study Russian. After completing his studies he went to the Soviet Union. In 1921, while still in the Soviet Union, he joined the newly established Chinese Communist Party. Upon returning to China in 1922, as secretary of the All-China Labour Syndicate, he led a number of strikes involving railway workers.
Throughout the 1920s he was frequently and actively involved in pro-communist political actions, leading many strikes in Hubei and Shanghai. He was elected to the Politburo in the early 1930s and was on the early stages of the Long March in 1934, but left to organise insurgent activities around Beijing and Tianjin. 1936 saw him gain the party secretaryship of north China. During his tenure, he organised and led anti-Japanese activities. After 1945 he became the supreme commander of communist forces in Manchuria and northern China.
The failings of Mao’s Great Leap Forward resulted in Liu Shaoqi succeeding him as Chairman of the People’s Republic of China. Liu’s ideas of Soviet Communism and his surge in popularity and power following the implementation of economic reforms after Mao’s disastrous policies were deemed by Mao to be a significant threat. Mao returned to the political scene and regained power in 1966 with the initiation of the Cultural Revolution. Over the next two years Liu was denounced and purged from the party, finally being expelled in 1968.
His death came in 1969 following brutal beatings and being denied medication for underlying health conditions. He was posthumously rehabilitated to the communist party under the government of Deng Xiaoping, an action which revoked previous accusations and re-established him and his reputation as a great revolutionary and party leader.
The centenary of Liu Shaoqi’s birth is celebrated by a set of three coins produced in 1998, of which two are silver and one is gold. The reverse faces feature three different images of Liu Shaoqi, while the obverse shows a picture of the Liu Shaoqi Memorial Hall in Ningxiang county.