Li Lu

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Li Lu was one of the leaders of the Chinese student democracy movement which culminated in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. His parents were victims of the Cultural Revolution: when he was a baby they were sent to labor camps and he was fostered by a succession of families for a few years, until he wound up in a state orphanage. He was then adopted, but in 1976 his adoptive family was wiped out in an earthquake and he was homeless for a year.

During the democracy demonstrations he was married in Tiananmen Square. After the massacre he escaped first to France and then to the USA where he was a student at Columbia University, receiving his bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees all on the same day.

A film, Moving the Mountain, based on his autobiography, has been made about his life.


Lu Li. Moving the Mountain: My Life in China from the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen Square. (London: Macmillan, 1990)
"Drama of Li Lu's Life Recounted in Documentary Film," Columbia University Record, 20(26) (28 April 1995). Also available at:


20th Century
21st Century
Civil Rights, Advocacy
Exile or Persecution (religious, Political or Social)
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Birth or Infancy
Parent(s) in Prison or Labor Camp, Executed
Street Children, Children Who Grew up Without Adult Supervision (at Least Temporarily), or Ran Away
Institutional Care
Other or Unknown Reasons for Serial Placement
Divorce or Premature Death of Adoptive Parent(s)
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