The Shenzhou-9 capsule rode to orbit atop a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan spaceport on the edge of the Gobi desert.
Ms Liu and her two male colleagues are heading to the Tiangong space lab.
The Shenzhou-9 will perform our country’s first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module,” Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the manned space program, told state media. “This will be a significant step in China’s manned space flight history,” he said.
China will be the eighth country to see one of its female citizens go into space, and only the third to put one there itself. Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman to go into space in 1963.