Li was born into utter poverty in Mao’s communist China. At a very young age, he was chosen to study ballet by Madame Mao’s people. And so began Li's journey. The years of harsh training regime taught him discipline, resilience, determination and perseverance. Li’s astounding drive and relentless hard work made him one of the best dancers in the world.
Li then made a successful career transition from ballet to finance in 1999. He was a senior manager at one of the largest stockbroking firms in Australia. Li was Australian Father of the Year in 2009 and Queensland Australian of the Year in 2013. He recently received the prestigious Asia Game Changer award at United Nations, he is the Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet.
The rich story of Li’s inspirational life is recounted in his memoir Mao's Last Dancer. It quickly rose to No. 1 on the Australian Non-Fiction Best-Seller List and went on to become an international bestseller. It received the Christopher Award for Literature in America, the Book of the Year Award in Australia and was short-listed for several other prestigious literary awards. It is in the 57th reprint. Li’s story made into a blockbuster movie.
Li’s inspirational journey has demonstrated the importance of passion, dedication, perseverance, courage to embrace changes; of maximising opportunities in life and making dreams into reality.