Liu Xiaoqing

b. 1951, Sichuan
Actress, producer
Liu Xiaoqing was among the most important actresses of the 1980s, starring in more than twenty major feature films. After working as a farm labourer, a propaganda worker in the People’s Liberation Army and a stage actress with the Chengdu Army Drama Troupe, Liu Xiaoqing turned to film in 1976 with a high-profile role in Great Wall of the South China Sea (Nanhai changcheng). She followed with several other films, including Comrade, Thank You (Tongzhi, ganxie ni), Spring Song (Chunge), Little Flower (Xiaohua) and Oh, What a Family! (Qiao zhe yi jiazi), for which she won a Best Supporting Actress award. In 1980 Liu joined the Beijing Film Studio where she delivered powerful performances in such films as Savage Land (Yuan ye, 1981), playing Jinzi, a woman driven by desire and lust. Although the film was not shown until 1987, upon its release Liu took home the Best Actress trophy at the Hundred Flowers Awards. She also starred in Xie Jin’s powerful melodrama about the Cultural Revolution, Hibiscus Town (Furong zhen), for which she won another Best Actress title at the Golden Rooster Awards.
Liu Xiaoqing is also known for her work in several traditional costume dramas, including veteran director Li Hanxiang’s Reign Behind a Curtain (Chuilian tingzheng) and Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Imperial Eunuch, Li Lianying (Da taijian Li Lianying). Li Lianying proved to be a star vehicle for Liu and her former beau Jiang Wen, with whom she had also starred in Chuntao: A Woman for Two (Chuntao).
Liu starred in a handful of television mini-series in the 1990s, while her visibility on screen decreased as she became increasingly involved in investment and the business world. Liu Xiaoqing’s transformation from glamorous movie star to successful businesswoman fuelled an insatiable interest in her personal and professional life, and she has become the subject of numerous books and the target of tabloid newspapers. Part of this transformation included an interest in film production, her most notable production credit being Jiang Wen’s hit film In the Heat of the Sun (Yangguang canlan de rizi, 1995). In 2002 Liu Xiaoqing was imprisoned on charges of tax evasion and fraud. In the wake of her arrest, Liu once again became the subject of a new flurry of tabloid books published under such titles as End of the Road for a Star (Mingxing molu) and I Sent Liu Xiaoqing to the Courthouse (Wo ba Liu Xiaoqing song shang fating). Liu herself is also the author of several books, including My Way (Wo de lu) and Me During the Past Eight Years (Wo zhe ba nian).
MICHAEL BERRY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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