Li Hongzhang (李鴻章, Li is his family name) was a leading statesman of the late Qing Dynasty of China. He was born in Hefei (合肥), Anhui Province (安徽省). I visited his former residence (李鴻章故居) in Huaihe Road (淮河路) in Hefei, in 2003, when it was my 1st year in college.
Although Li's image in China remains largely controversial, there's no doubt that he made significant contributions to defending China from being colonized, industrial and military modernization in China, and overseas Chinese people's rights.
Li and some other government officials started an attempt to industrialize China, by learning modern science, technologies and engineering from western countries, in the 1860s, which was named the Self-Strengthening Movement (洋務運動). During this movement, Li heavily sponsored the building of a modernized navy, the Beiyang Fleet (北洋水師), which contributed important defending in the 1st Sino-Japanese War. Although China lost that war, if there's no Beiyang Fleet, China would have lost much faster. And the result of the war was due to the fact that Japan was an industrialized country, while China just started industrializing. It's not Li's fault.
In 1896, Li toured Europe and the United States, where he made a great effort advocating reform of the American immigration policies that had greatly restricted Chinese immigration after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (renewed in 1892).
Brief translation: Li was an important military and political official in the late Qing Dynasty. He was born in 1823 in Hefei. He died in 1901 in Beijing and was buried in Hefei. The houses that belong to the Li family occupied a huge place. This former residence, which is about 2000 square meters (about 21.5 thousand square feet), is only part of them. The houses are typical late Qing style. Li's former residence opens to public since September 27, 1999.
- Wikipedia's description of Li Hongzhang
- Harmony Borax Works, a place where Chinese workers were treated harshly in the 1880s