Lü took active part in the anti-Manchu military movement that followed the fall of the Ming in 1644. After the failure of the Ming loyalist movement, he became a hermit and a physician. He refused to serve the new dynasty because he argued that upholding the difference between "Hua" and "barbarians" was more important than respecting the righteous bond between minister and sovereign.
Lü Liuliang wrote a famous anti-Qing poem. "The light breeze, however delicate, does not blow on me; the bright moon has never stopped casting its light on folks." (清風雖細難吹我，明月何嘗不照人?) In this poem, the "light breeze" (qing feng 清風) contains the character for "Qing" (as in the dynasty), and "bright moon" (ming yue 明月) the character for "Ming."
- Lydia Liu (2004), 84. Lü's original sentence was "Hua-Yi zhi fen da yu jun-chen zhi yi" 華夷之分，大於君臣之義.
- Liu, Lydia (2004). The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01307-7, ISBN 978-0-674-01307-0.