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Li attended Soochow University and received his Bachelor and Master's of laws in 1928 and 1930 respectively. In 1936 he won a scholarship and travelled to the United Kingdom to pursue advanced studies in public international law, international private law and comparative law at the London School of Economics, University of London.
Academic and governmental career
Returning to China in 1939, Li became Associate Professor of Law at the National Wuhan University, at the time relocated to Leshan, Sichuan due to the Second Sino-Japanese War. Later in 1941, Li was promoted to Professor of Law and Head of the Faculty of Law. At the end of the World War II Li Haopei left for Hangzhou, where he became Professor of Law and Dean of the College of Law at the National Chekiang University.
Following the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Li moved to Beijing, where he served the Communist government as an Expert Commissioner to the National Law Commission of China up to 1956. In that year, he was made Professor of International Law at the College of Foreign Relations. From 1963 to 1993, Li was concurrently Professor of International Law at Peking University and Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In 1979, he completed drafting the first Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of Criminal Procedure, a key piece of legislation enacted as part of a return to legality under the Open Door Policy.
As the PRC took a large role in international law, Li Haopei became its main representative at international conferences and tribunals. From 1993 to 1997 he served as a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In the same period, Li served as Judge at the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. From 1995 to 1997 he also served as judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
His daughter Ling Yan is also a leading jurist.
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