- "Look at us, young man. At a crossroads of destiny, where the fate and identity of a nation lies in peril just because of some foolish scheme for world domination? I am not afraid of sacrifices, but I fear there will be one day that it will amount to too much......"
- ―Li Shiqun, discussing the pyrrhic victory at the Battle of West Hubei with Jonathan Griffon, 1943[src]
11 September 1943 (aged 37-38)
Li Shiqun (1905 - 1943) is a Chinese politician and high ranking member of Section 76, as well as a member within Wang Jing-wei's Inner Circle. He is one of the most powerful figures within the Wang Wei Government and a friend to Wang. In secret, Li is a member of the Chinese Brotherhood and double agent for the Communist Party of China.
A former member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Li staged his betrayal to the Communists and joined the Kuomintang as an intelligence agent under Chiang Kai-Shek to undermine the nationalist intelligence network by assassinating agents under Dai Li. Not known by both the Communists and the KMT that he was working with the Chinese Assassins.
In 1938, the Chinese Brotherhood assigns him to follow Wang Jing-wei to secretly undermine his false Nationalist government after the Assassins temporarily aligned themselves with the Communists. Shortly afterwards, Li was assigned to Section 76 for his previous work in the field of military intelligence and was contacted by the OSS office in Shanghai in 1941 to work with Jonathan Griffon, a new recruit who was assigned to the special operations branch in China. Li worked with him as a correspondent and liaison and later on, introduced him to the Communists in Yan'an and indoctrinated him into the Chinese Brotherhood. In the events building up to his death in 1943, he used his power within the Wang Wei Government to aid Jonathan in his operations, an action that eventually led to his cover being blown and eventual assassination.
Li appears in Assassin's Creed: Turbulence as a major deuteragonist.
- "Clever, he is. A cunning cleverness that have fooled most people around him, thinking that they had him in their palms but not knowing that he was one of us all along."
- ―Zhou Enlai, commenting on Li during his talk with Jonathan in Yan'an, 1942
Li studied in Shanghai during his youth and joined the Communist Party of China. In 1927, he studied in the Moscow Zhongshan Institute and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, during which he had briefly met with Leon Trotsky on campus, where he performed a guest lecture shortly before his exile from the party. Li's insight upon the proletariat revolution had impressed Trotsky and during a discussion after the lecture Trotsky explained to Li the Assassin-Templar War, a concept that he heard for the first time and expressed surprise about. He returned to Shanghai a year later, where he worked for the Chinese Communist Special Operations Division. He was hunted by Nationalist agents during the White Terror and sought protection from the Green Gang.
During his time in the Special Operations Division, he befriend fellow Communist revolutionary Zhou Enlai, and admired his charisma and intelligence. They formed a mutually-respectful friendship during the time they operated in Shanghai, planning out assassinations of Nationalist agents, intelligence gathering operations, infiltrations and counter-espionage.
Unbeknownst to Li, Zhou was, in fact, the Mentor of the Chinese Brotherhood at the time. In 1929, when several Communist figures were murdered by Chiang's agents, Li collaborated with Chen Geng to protect Zhou. Gaining the trust of Zhou, he offered Li to join the brotherhood shortly before flying to Moscow for the Sixteenth Soviet Communist Representative Convention, an offer that he quickly accepted, being somehow attracted to the organization's idea of empowering the people.
Li continued to work in the Special Operations Division with Shanghai Communists such as Chen Yi and Chen Geng until 1932, where he was arrested by the Nationalists under Chiang as part of his Encirclement Campaigns. During his imprisonment he was secretly visited by Chen Yi disguised as a prison guard, who informed him of the sombre situation that the Communists were facing, and that in times of national crisis the Brotherhood had decided to side with the Communists, as Zhou had recognized Mao Zedong as his superior within the Party.
Dedicated to the Brotherhood's causes, Li proposed to stage a "betrayal" towards the Party to join the Nationalists, since Chiang values his experience in working for the Special Operations Division; in this way, he could work as an inside man to undermine KMT authority within while protecting Communist operatives working in Shanghai and providing valuable information to underground intelligence networks of the Communists. Chen Yi and Zhou respected his decision in protecting the Party and the Brotherhood's interests while sacrificing his reputation to become a public traitor.
During his time in the Central Bureau of Investigation and Statistics, the domestic branch of the intelligence of the Nationalist government, Li worked closely with Ding Mocun and Tang Huimin who would later become his close associates as well as rivals in intelligence work during the war against the Japanese. The effectiveness and cunningness of Li and his colleagues in terminating Communist and Assassins alike had drawn the attention of Wang, who had lost control over China to Chiang and had resorted to collaborate with the Japanese.
Realizing this could be an opportunity to infiltrate Wang's false government and the Japanese, Li accepted his invitation to meet in Hong Kong in 1938. He brutally murdered a captive member of the Chinese Brotherhood in front of Wang to win his trust, an act that aroused the ire of the Brotherhood and of which vowed to hunt him down for breaking the Creed.
With support from Doihara Kenji, Li and a few influential members of Wang's inner circle, including Ding, Zhou Fohai and Tang, established No.76 in 1939. Li was appointed, at Wang's behest, as the deputy director and captain of the security team, a position he used to his advantage to plant Communist spies in their organization. Li succeeded in assassinating the other deputy director Tang in 1940 with the assistance of Chen Yi, which left most of the power in the organization in his hands with Zhou Fohai merely a figurehead.
Assassin's Creed: Turbulence
- "Look here, boy. If I had half a heart to kill you I'dve done it when you bombed Shimazu's convoy; if you wanna know why you're still breathing right now without being put a hole into your head by my snipers, you'd better listen to what I'm going to say."
- ―Li to Jonathan, during their encounter in the Borovich Cafe, 1941
- One of the reasons that Assassin's Creed: Turbulence had problem going through the censorship of the Chinese Bureau of Culture was how it portrayed Li in a positive image, as he is widely regarded as one of the worst "Hanjians (Chinese Traitor)" in real history. However, the Bureau eventually decided that the adaptation was reasonable due to it not contradicting with "Party Values".