By Rico Shen – Wikimedia

Top 10 Most Famous Chinese people


China has played an important in world history, it has also dominated the politics of East Asia.  Consequently, it has contributed to great innovations globally becoming a superpower nation.

All this great progress that China has made is courtesy of its great people. These people have excelled in the tech industry, sports, acting, art, leadership, engineering and many more.

China has for years been attracting many people who go to explore and learn their beautiful culture. The country is full of natural resources that in the past, foreign rulers conquered the existing dynasties to own part of its resources.

Most of the ancient rulers greatly contributed to what China is today. In this blog, I’ll be covering the top 10 most famous Chinese people in different fields.

Read more on China in our previous blogs.

1. Bruce Lee- Martial Artist, Actor

We start with Bruce Lee who was a famous film and martial arts legend. He was known for his fast fighting tactics, grunts and facial expression made while fighting, philosophical statements and more.

He revolutionized the western film industry by introducing Kung Fu. He is considered to be the greatest martial artist of all time.

After featuring in holy wood films, he soon gained a global status and was one of the most influential martial artists.

Bruce Lee started as a child star having been born from a wealthy family. He was not only a martial art actor but an instructor too.

He popularized martial arts in films after he relocated to Hong Kong. Bruce was the founder of Jeet Kune Do.

It is a cross martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that are often ascribed with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA).

2. Mao Zedong- Politician

By 黄丹 – Wikimedia

On the political side, Mao Zedong is one name that you will not miss when reading or researching the history of China. He is said to be the most controversial Chinese revolutionist, politician, and socio-political theorist.

Zedong was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China and converted it into a single-party socialist state.

He made all the industries and business in the country state-owned while ensuring that his socialist reforms were implemented in all areas in the community.

Zedong was the chairman of the communist party of China until his death. His legacy is defined by his ideologies and policies that are known as Maoism.

3. Confucius- Philosopher

Another famous Chinese is Confucius, who is known as one of the most influential figures in Chinese history.

Confucius lived during the times of Lao Zi, he was a teacher, politician and a philosopher. His famous works can be found in a collection called the four books and the five classics.

The books cover Confucianism, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Analects, and Mencius. The topics range from government, intellectual inquiry, virtue and morality.

His philosophy, Confucianism, still governs Chinese culture today. It stresses on a code of ethics about ancestor worship, loyalty, and family relationships.

His other collection, the five classics, cover poetry, political documents, speeches, ceremonies, history and the I Ching.

I Ching has been used across the world as a means of making difficult decisions for centuries. It is made up of a system of divination using random numbers, hexagrams, and a set of yarrow sticks.

4. Jack Ma- Businessman

By Rico Shen – Wikimedia

Jack Ma has known the world over as the philanthropist and a successful businessman. His story is that of from grass to grace having grown up poor in communist China.

He had a rough start after failing his university entrance exam twice and receiving rejection letters from potential employers.

He then opted to be a tour guide and slowly learnt English while improving his communication skills.

His success came after he opened his internet company Alibaba. This was his third internet business; he saw his chance at making it in online business Jack Ma was one of the few individuals that embraced the online market.

Jack Ma has received many awards over the years and been featured in world-renown magazines like Forbes and Times.

5. Yao Ming- Athlete

By Keith Allison – Wikimedia

Yao Ming is a retired Chinese basketball player who played in the Chinese Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association in the US. He was one of the tallest players of the NBA to lead in All-Star voting.

Yao has been described as a talented, dedicated, philanthropical individual with a good sense of humour. He played for China in the 2000 summer Olympics and was the captain for the Chinese team at the FIBA Asian championships. They won three consecutive gold medals in that championships.

He was listed as the top Chinese celebrity by Forbes for six consecutive years. Ming ended his career early after suffering from a series of injuries that affected his performance on the court.

6. Dilraba Dilmurat – Actress

Dilraba Dilmurat is a Chinese actress, singer, and model who rose to fame with the popular Chinese TV series ‘Diamond Lover’. She went to Shanghai Theatre Academy to study acting and after graduating, she debuted in a Chinese television series Anarhan.

The series became a hit and so was her character subsequently opening up more acting roles for her.

She featured in several other television series such as Legend of the Ancient Sword, The Backlight of Love, and Diamond Lover. In 2015, Dilmurat won the Audience Favourite Newcomer Award. Another prestigious award that she won was the Best Actress Award in 2017.

She has gained fame in Chinese entertainment as well as international acclaim.

7. Liu Yifei – Actress

Another famous Chinese is Liu Yifei but known as Crystal Liu. She is a Chinese model, actress and singer. Liu has featured in many television series such as The Story of a Noble Family, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, Chinese Paladin and The Return of the Condor Heroes.

Her successful movies include A Chinese Fairy Tale, The Assassins, The Forbidden Kingdom, Once Upon a Time, Hanson and the Beast, The Third Way of Love, So Young 2: Never Gone and The Chinese Widow.

Liu is popularly known as the fairy sister has won several awards both in China and internationally.  She won the Most Charismatic Actress award at the 22nd Hong Kong Society of Cinematographers Award ceremony.

She also received the Best Actress award at 5th Macau International Movie Festival from her role in The Assassins. These are just a few of her awards.

8. Yang Jiang- Playwright

Yang Jiang was a well-known Chinese playwright, translator, and author. She became the first Chinese academic to translate Miguel de Cervantes’ Spanish novel ‘Don Quixote’ to Chinese.

Yang was born in Beijing to an affluent family in 1911. After graduating from Soochow University, she attended the graduate school of Tsinghua University.

While at graduate school she met her husband, who was an acclaimed author too.

Other than translations, Yang authored many plays, novels, and essays during her writing career.

In 1986, she received the Civil Order of Alfonso X and the Wise by King Juan Carlos awards. These awards were an appreciation of her translation of Don Quixote.

Her bestseller was Women sa in 2003 which sold more than 180,000 copies in two months. Jiang died in 2016, at the age of 104.

9. Dowager Cixi – Empress

By Hubert Vos – Wikimedia

Empress Dowager Cixi was a regent of the Qing Dynasty who through an exclusive group of unscrupulous and conservative officials, ruled China for around half-a-century.

She was Xianfeng Emperor’s concubine who gave birth to his only son Zaichun. Her relationship with the emperor drew her close power and she became one of the most powerful women in China.

After the death of Emperor Xianfeng, their son Zaichun took over power and she ruled alongside her son. Shortly after, Zaichun, who was the Tongzhi Emperor died and Empress Dowager took full control of the Qing dynasty and made her nephew the Guangxu emperor.

She reigned from 1861 to 1908 when she died. Empress Dowager is credited with transforming China from a medieval society to a modern power on the global stage.

10. Tu Youyou – Pharmaceutical Chemist

By Bengt Nyman – Wikimedia

Tu Youyou was the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. She was the first female Chinese from the People’s Republic of China to receive a Nobel Prize in any category.

Tu was a pharmaceutical chemist and malarialogist. She is credited to the discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin. These were used to treat malaria and was a breakthrough in 20th-century tropical medicine.

Her discovery led to the saving of millions of lives in South China, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.

She received the 2011 Lasker Award in clinical medicine.