Li Zehao was born in Liaozhong, Liaoning Province, in 1939. Li was trained in the Oil Painting Department of the Lu Xun Fine Arts Academy, from which he graduated in 1964. In 1970, he was transferred to the Arts Department of the Shenyang Daily. He returned to the Lu Xun Fine Arts Academy in 1978.
Among the works by Li Zehao, the 1977 painting 'Comrades-in-arms', which shows Mao Zedong with his first (or second) wife Yang Kaihui, counts as one of the most famous. Li collaborated with Xu Baozhong on this painting.