Li (unit)

Li (里Chinese, Pinyin lǐ ) is a traditional Chinese measure of length. Today, it is set to exactly 500 meters. It is also known as Chinese mile.


Its size varied considerably in the past. In the treaty ports that were approached during the time of the German Empire, 1 Li was calculated both as 644.58 m, 447.19 m or 575.5 m as depending on the area. In the formerly German colony of Jiaozhou Bay was already 1 Li = 500 m. The Great Wall was called also 10,000 Li Wall (" Wànlǐ Chángchéng "), with 10,000 as immeasurable number ( myriad ), is considered to be infinite.

Further meaning

Li is used in Chinese generally for lengths of this magnitude. That's the name kilometers gōnglǐ (公里- Public mile), the English mile Yīnglǐ (英里- mile ) and the nautical mile hǎilǐ (海里- Sea - mile).

Note that there is another unit of length Lí, but pronounced differently and written (厘/厘) is. This unit is currently defined as 1/3 mm and is rarely used.