Li Xingke is a fictional character in the Sunrise anime series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2. He is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa, and by David Earnest in the English dub. He ranked 5th in the 2008 Newtype Character Poll for Code Geass.
Li Xingke is a member of the Chinese Federation and part of a faction fiercely loyal to the Empress, a trait not shared by any of his superiors. It seems that part of his goal is to re-establish the throne of China as the clear authority, as the current Empress is the head of a puppet government with Eunuchs holding actual power in the country, as well as help the many impoverished citizens living in China.
His devotion to the Empress stems from a past encounter where she spared his life after he was caught giving medicine to a prisoner. Years later, Li is forced to leave the Forbidden City to attend a military academy, and Tianzi confides in him her desire to see the outside world. Li promises Tianzi that one day, he will help Tianzi leave the Forbidden City and they can both see the world together. This promise shapes Li's actions and agenda.
Li briefly appears in episode 23 of the first season, his back turned to the viewer as Zero makes his speech about reforming Japan. His proper debut is in the first episode of the second season. He serves as a bodyguard for the influential Eunuch Gao Hai, who is sent by the Federation as a consul to the Britannian colony Area 11. They arrive right as the Order of the Black Knight's operation to recover Zero begins. The Black Knights succeed in their mission and Zero orders the Knights to head to the Chinese Federation consulate for protection. Gao Hai, under the influence of Lelouch's Geass, agrees to harbor the fugitives, which troubles Li as it is not part of their mission.
While the Black Knights stay at the consulate, he meets Kallen Stadtfeld and is impressed that someone of her age is the pilot of the Guren Mk-II. When the Britannians threaten to publicly execute the imprisoned Black Knights, he sets his own plans in motion. Li holds a private conversation with Kallen and C.C., informing them of his intent to kill Gao Hai. Under threat by Li, C.C. agrees to let it look like Gao Hai died when fighting with them.
Li confronts Gao Hai about having recognized the United State of Japan without confirming it with higher officials in the mainland, including the Empress. When he finds out that Gao Hai, who is still affected by the Geass, cares more about Zero than the Empress, Li kills Gao Hai for committing lèse majesté. C.C. realizes his ambitions, and that his agreement to aid the Order of the Black Knights is only in return for the Black Knights being used as a tool to aid his own plans for China.
Li and his aide Zhou Xianglin fly back to China as the opening ceremony for the Special Administrative Region of Japan is held. He tells Zhou that though he has to return to the Chinese Federation if the new Consul General is decided upon, he sees what's currently going on as a good opportunity. He then coughs up a bit of blood, but he tells her not to worry because he only needs a little longer. When Zero engineers the exile of the Black Knights, he comments on how Zero plans to move to their stage. With a marriage of convenience set up for Prince Odysseus of Britannia and the Empress, Li doesn't hesitate in staging a coup, which Zero interrupts by taking Tianzi hostage.
After Zero escapes with Tianzi and easily defeats the predictable Chinese forces, the Eunuchs enlist Li's help in retrieving her. He is given the Shen Hu Knightmare Frame and command over their troops. Li is able to predict Zero's strategies and counter them, easily putting the Black Knights on the defensive. The Black Knights manage to escape and take refuge in the mountain housing the royal tombs. At this point, the Eunuchs turn on Li and have his forces surrounded, having turned to the Britannians for aid instead. Li attempts to fight back, but cannot beat Gino Weinberg. He resorts to asking for help after being forced to act as a shield for Tianzi, which Zero answers. The two become allies after parts of the Chinese Federation revolt against the Eunuchs. After Zero manipulates a general uprising within the Chinese Federation, the High Eunuchs lose their support from Britannian forces, and Xingke penetrates their command chamber with the Shen Hu. Xingke then personally executes all of the High Eunuchs for treason on the spot, using his sword.
After the United Federation of Nations is formed, Li is appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Black Knights. He leads the initial attack on the Kagoshima coastline as a distraction for the infiltration of Tokyo Bay, and engages the Knight of One, Bismarck Waldstein, in combat. He is wounded by Bismarck while defending the fleet's command ship against a Britannian vessel set on a collision course by the Knight of Ten. Following the Black Knights' betrayal of Zero and their announcement that he died in battle, Xingke joins the armistice negotiations with Kaguya and Tianzi. When news of the attack on the Emperor's flagship reaches them, both Kaguya and Xingke immediately suspect Zero is responsible. Kaguya decides to follow Schneizel, postponing their meeting until they can confirm other details. When Lelouch is crowned Emperor, Li and the rest of the Black Knights are visibly stunned. After Lelouch enacts sweeping changes to the way Britannian society works, such as abolishing the nobility system, breaking up the conglomerates, and liberating the Numbers, the Black Knights have mixed opinion about him, but Xingke remains suspicious of Lelouch's motives. His suspicions are confirmed when Lelouch takes the U.F.N. council hostage. Xingke prevents the Black Knights from fighting back, knowing that Lelouch is likely ready to kill the hostages.
After the Black Knights align with Schneizel against Lelouch, Li is horrified to learn that Lelouch is keeping the U.F.N. hostages, including Tianzi, on board the Avalon. He refuses to allow Schneizel, who considers the hostages expendable, to simply destroy the Avalon, and is forced to give Schneizel command of the Black Knights as a concession. He takes the Shen Hu out and leads the attack along with Tohdoh and Kallen. He successfully enters the Avalon to rescue the UFN hostages, but they are already freed by the time he arrives. Once Lelouch has control of Damocles, Li is arrested along with the rest of the U.F.N. representatives. As they are brought to their execution, Zero (Suzaku in disguise) appears and assassinates Lelouch. He does not appear in the epilogue though his Knightmare appears in the background during the meeting between Nunnally and Kaname Ohgi, leaving his fate unknown; he may have succumbed to the illness that plagued him throughout the series.
Li is exceptionally skilled in close combat, especially with swords. He is capable of drawing his blade, striking, and sheathing it without his victims perceiving the blade being drawn or Li moving. Besides his sword, Li favors rope darts in combat, a trait which his Knightmare reflects. He is also a skilled Knightmare Frame pilot, able to pilot the physically demanding Shen Hu Knightmare Frame, which no one before him could effectively control.
In addition to his physical skills, Li is highly intelligent, using the chaos from the Black Knights presence in the Chinese Federation Consulate to discreetly assassinate Gao Hai. He is also able to anticipate Lelouch's strategies and counter them. C.C. comments that he is not only a skilled soldier, but possesses political skill as well. Li Xingke's strength and intelligence is said to rival that of Suzaku Kururugi and Lelouch Lamperouge, respectively, which Lelouch himself acknowledges in the tenth episode, and Bismarck Waldstein notes that Li's skills are that of a prodigy.
However, despite his talents, Li suffers from an unidentified, though apparently terminal, illness. One of the symptoms is coughing up blood.