Li Zhanshu was born in Hebei province in 1950. He became a member of the Communist Party of China in 1975.
Li has served as the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China Heilongjiang Provincial Committee since 2003. He was appointed as the acting governor of Heilongjiang in December 2007 following the resignation of former Heilongjiang governor, Zhang Zuoji.
Li Zhanshu was officially elected the Governor of Heilongjiang by the Heilongjiang People's Congress on January 27, 2008.