Little of General Li's background is revealed, except that he is General of the Imperial Army and that Li Shang is his son. He is shown to be very loyal to the Emperor, offering to station his army in the Imperial City to protect the Emperor. He complies immediately, however, when ordered to protect the people. He seems to have a great deal of faith and pride in Shang, choosing to promote his son to Captain for his accomplishments, despite Shang's young age and the responsibility of the position.
Role in the film
General Li, as his title suggests, is the General of China's army. When the Huns invade, the General meets with the Emperor of China to discuss defense plans. Though General Li suggests moving the army to the Imperial City to protect the Emperor, he is instead ordered to protect the people.
General Li is next seen at the military camp where new army recruits are meeting. In a tent, he discusses war plans with his son, Shang. The General reveals his intention to go to a nearby mountain pass to guard it from the Huns, as it is the quickest way to get to the Imperial City. Before he and the army leave, he promotes Shang to captain and tasks him to train the new recruits. When Chi-Fu protests that Shang is not ready (citing the fact that it's an enormous responsibility to begin with), General Li lists Shang's numerous skills, as well as his "impressive military lineage." Chi-Fu is tasked with observing the training and allowing the new recruits to join the regular army when he feels they are ready.
General Li is not seen for the rest of the film. When Shang and his troops arrive in the mountain pass where the army is supposed to be, they discover that the Huns have attacked the army. While searching for survivors, Chien Po discovers that General Li is among the dead. Chien Po brings the General's helmet to Shang as proof. Shang takes a moment to mourn, setting up a makeshift shrine to honor his father. Mulan also places a doll at the monument to honor all the lives that were lost. At the end of the film, his death was technically avenged after Shang helped Mulan kill Shan-Yu and the Huns. He is the paternal grandfather of Shang and Mulan's future children.