Li Zhizao (1565-1630), born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, was a Catholic believer in
the early stage of Catholicism's development in China.
He showed much interest in all kinds of
knowledge in the West and studied astronomy, geography, military, water
conservancy, music, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy and religion,
He respected Catholicism very much, called
it as Tian Xue (The Art of the Heaven) and wrote a set of Catholic books
in 32 volumes.
He proposed to combine Catholicism with
Confucianism, using Catholicism to modify the shortcomings of Confucianism.
One of his articles written in 1607
indicated that he had accepted the idea of Catholicism.
In 1610, he contracted a serious disease;
then he received baptism and became a believer of Catholicism and got the name
of Leo. Soon he recovered from his illness. From then on, he concentrated his
mind on Catholicism.