Hou Yimin (1930), Gaoyang, Hebei Province, belongs to the Mongol minority. He enrolled in the National Beiping Arts College in 1946, where he joined the underground Communist Party cell. He graduated from the Oil Painting Research Class of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under the Soviet painter Konstantin Maksimov, in 1957. He is a professor in the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and an expert in oil painting, fresco, and paper-cuts.
Hou is married with the designer Deng Shu. Together with her, Jin Shangyi and others, he collaborated on the 1973 poster The great proletarian cultural revolution must be waged to the end.
Aside from painting oils and designing posters, Hou has also been involved in designing the motives for the Chinese currency. He painted the well-known portrait of a steelworker, which adorned the 5-yuan note of the set that went into circulation in 1958, and took part in the design work for the currency set that was used from the 1980s onwards.
During the first phase of the Cultural Revolution, Hou was violently attacked by Red Guards because of his 1961 oil painting Liu Shaoqi and the Anyuan coal miners, which showed Liu Shaoqi leading a successful and important strike in 1922. Claiming leadership of this strike was a crucial element for Mao Zedong in his campaign against Liu Shaoqi and was visualized by the painting Chairman Mao goes to Anyuan by Liu Chunhua from 1968.