She was born in Fufeng, Shaanxi on 28 February 1942, and later moved to Taiwan, attending elementary school in Beitou. Liu was diagnosed with atrophic arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of 12. Her condition ended her formal education and required the use of a wheelchair. In 1982, Liu founded the Eden Social Welfare Foundation with NT$200,000 she had won as one of ten "outstanding young women" of 1980. She was regarded as the "spiritual leader" of the organization. Liu became a national policy adviser to President Chen Shui-bian in May 2001.
Liu died of atrial flutter on 8 February 2003, at Tri-Service General Hospital. She had been dragged from her bed at home by her Indonesian caregiver, Vinarsih, resulting in broken bones and bruises. Vinarsih claimed to have dreamed of Liu's late father, who told Vinarsih to help Liu because there was an earthquake. Vinarsih was later diagnosed with a mental disorder. The incident led a group of social welfare organizations to petition for labor protections on behalf of foreign caregivers.
Liu Hsia is best known by her pen name, Hsinglintzu, Chinese: 杏林子, literally "Child of the apricot forest", this is both an allusion to her birthplace of Xinglin Town (杏林, literally: Apricot Forest) in Fufeng County, Shaanxi province, China; and an allusion to a lifetime spent in and out of hospitals. "People of the apricot forest" (Chinese: 杏林中人) is a traditional Chinese epithet for physicians; especially for skilled ones. The epithet derives from the life of Eastern Han physician Dong Feng.
- Chuang, Jimmy (1 March 2002). "Newsmakers: Liu Hsia celebrates 60th birthday". Taipei Times. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- Hsu, Crystal (9 February 2003). "Liu's life a victory over misfortune". Taipei Times. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "Eden Foundation group heads for Osaka conference". Taipei Times. 19 October 2002. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- Lin, Mei-chun (21 May 2001). "Presidential Office names advisors". Taipei Times. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- Tsai, Ting-i (9 February 2003). "Liu Hsia dies after an alleged assault". Taipei Times. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "Foreign caregivers seek labor protection". Taipei Times. 17 February 2003. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
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