Li Qin was born in June 1963, in Mengzi, Yunnan Province. He joined the army in November, 1980 and became a member of Communist Party of China (CPC) in February 1985. Li was deputy chief of staff of the division headquarters of the border police in Yunnan Province and the senior colonel of armed police.
Li previously worked as the teacher of the Foreign Language School of Kunming Army College, the deputy chief of staff of the company of Honghe border police in Yunnan Province. From October 1990 to July 2001, he was appointed as the Kunming Border Police Headquarters' technical translator, department director, and chief of staff. In July 2001, he became the leader of the border managing team composed of students from Kunming Border School. In June 2002, he was the team leader of Honghe Border Police. In April 2003, he was promoted to deputy chief of staff of the headquarters of Yunnan Border Police. From December 2007 to August 2008, and from June 2009 until his death, he worked as political commissar and party secretary of the peace keeping force in Haiti.