Liu was born in Ji'an, Jiangxi Province. He is the son of Liu Xiyuan , one of first lieutenant generals conferred in 1955 in the People's Republic of China. He is also the son-in-law of Hu Yaobang, former general secretary of CPC.
He was made a navy lieutenant general in 2002. He is a member of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Among 41 central committee members from the PLA, 38 were from the position of large military region, and only 3 were from the vice position of large military regions. Liu was one of them. The other two were Tian Xiusi, political commissar of the Xinjiang Military Region, and Dong Guishan, commander of the Tibet Military Region.