Li Chia-ao was a Chinese government official who contributed a lot into the establishing and developing diplomatical ties with Russian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. Chinese Envoy to Russia in 1923.
Li Chia-ao was born in 1859 in Shanghai, China.
In his youth Mr. Li studied Chinese in the typically classical school. Later he secured a position in the Kiangnan Arsenal where he was highly esteemed by his superiors for his activities in the reform of the administration.
In 1886 Mr. Li went to Russia to study by way of London. Upon his arrival at Petrograd he joined a high military school. On the completion of his education, he joined the Chinese legation in Russia in the capacity of an attache and remained at his post for nine years.
After a stay of more than ten years in Russia, Mr. Li returned to China. On his way back home he extensively travelled in Eastern and Western Siberia and visited the Russo-Chinese frontiers. The whole voyage lasted 109 days, during which he studied the commercial conditions and the characters of the countries. As at that time the Trans-Siberia Railway had not yet been constructed, he had to travel part of the way by carriage and part by boat. On his return Mr. Li published a book entitled Memories on ithe Travel in Siberia. The book comprising two volumes was highly valued by His Excellency Li Hung-chang. Soon after its appearance, Mr. Li was appointed to take charge of foreign affairs in Tianjinn. Later he became Taoyin of Pin Kiang in Kirin Province. Concurrently he held the position of Commissioner for Foreign Affairs for Harbin and Director of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs of the Kirin Railway. He remained there for three years and a half.
Mr. Li was decorated by the Emperor Nicholas II with the second class order of Stanisals. In 1910 he accompanied Tai Hung-shih as Counsellor to Russia in connection with an important mission. During this visit to Russia he was given the Order of St. Ann, which was a high honor. After his resignation, more on account of health than for any other reason, he was engaged in business. He interested himself in gold mines. During that period he had nothing to do with politics. In 1918 he was again appointed Taoyin of Pin Kiang and concurrently held the other two posts as before. In December 1918 he was conferred the third class Paokuang Chiaho. In March 1919 he resigned these posts and returned to the Capital and was appointed a member of the Foreign Office. In August 1919 he was appointed a Member of the Commission for the Exam nation of Diplomatic and Consular officials.
In September when Liu Chin-jen, former Chinese Minister to Russia, was appointed Minister to Tokio, and had to resign from the office of High Commissioner to Siberia, Mr. Li was appointed his successor and was also ordered to represent China at the board of the Trans-Siberian Railway. In August 1920 he was called back to Peking. In September 1921 he was appointed Acting Chief Justice of the Special High Court for the Eastern Provinces. In December 1921 he was conferred the Second Class Paokuang Chiaho. In March 1923 he was relieved of the Chief Justiceships. In October 1923 Mr. Li was appointed Chinese Envoy to Russia. In November 1923 he was given the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.