Li Keqiang

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Li Keqiang
Li Keqiang (cropped).jpg
Premier of the People's Republic of China
Assumed office
15 March 2013
President Xi Jinping
Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli
Preceded by Wen Jiabao
First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
17 March 2008 – 15 March 2013
Serving with Hui Liangyu, Zhang Dejiang, Wang Qishan
Premier Wen Jiabao
Preceded by Wu Yi (Acting)
Succeeded by Zhang Gaoli
Provincial Committee Secretary of Liaoning
In office
December 2004 – October 2007
Deputy Zhang Wenyue (Governor)
Preceded by Wen Shizhen
Succeeded by Zhang Wenyue
Provincial Committee Secretary of Henan
In office
December 2002 – December 2004
Deputy Li Chengyu (Governor)
Preceded by Chen Kuiyuan
Succeeded by Xu Guangchun
First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China
In office
May 1993 – June 1998
Preceded by Song Defu
Succeeded by Zhou Qiang
Personal details
Born (1955-07-01) 1 July 1955 (age 59)
Dingyuan County, China
Political party Communist Party
Spouse(s) Cheng Hong
Children 1
Residence Zhongnanhai
Alma mater Peking University
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.
Li Keqiang
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese 李克強

Li Keqiang (pronounced [lì kʰɤ̂tɕʰjɑ̌ŋ], born 1 July 1955) is the current Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. An economist by training, Li is China's head of government as well as one of the leading figures of Chinese economic policy. He is also vice chairman of the National Security Commission and second ranked member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, the de facto highest decision-making body of the country. Li is a major part of the "fifth generation" (Xi-Li Administration) of Communist Party leadership.

From 2008 to 2013, Li served as the first-ranked Vice-Premier[1] under then-Premier Wen Jiabao. During this tenure, Li's official portfolio included economic development, price controls, finance, climate change, and macroeconomic management.[2]

Li rose through the party ranks through the Communist Youth League. From 1998 to 2004, Li served as the Governor of Henan and the province's Party secretary, and then the Liaoning party secretary, an office that made him first-in-charge in that province.

Early life and education[edit]

Li was born on 1 July 1955 in Dingyuan County, Anhui. His father was a local official in Anhui. Li graduated from high school in 1974, during the Cultural Revolution, and was sent for rural labour in Fengyang County, Anhui, where he eventually joined the Communist Party of China and made his way in becoming the party head of the local production team. He was awarded the honour of Outstanding Individual in the Study of Mao Zedong Thought during this time.[3]

Li refused his father's offer of grooming him for the local county's party leadership and entered the School of Law at Peking University, where he received his LLB[4] and became the president of the University's student council. He would go on to acquire a PhD in economics. In 1980, he became the Communist Youth League secretary at Peking University. He entered the top leadership of the national organization of the Communist Youth League (CYL) in 1982 as a member of its Secretariat, and has worked closely with former Party General Secretary Hu Jintao, who also rose through the ranks of the CYL, ever since. Li became the organization's First Secretary in 1993, and served until 1998. He is a representative member of the first generation to have risen from the CYL leadership.


Provincial tenures[edit]

Li became the youngest Chinese provincial governor in June 1998 when he was appointed governor of Henan at the age of 43. According to provincial officials working with him at the time, Li refused to participate in any banquets or large fancy events not related to government activities.[5] During his time as governor a public sense of his ‘bad luck’ grew due to the occurrence of three major fires in the province.[6]

He is known to be outspoken, and led economic development in Henan, transforming the poor inland region into an attractive area for investment. Li did not spend time pursuing superficial projects. He trekked through all regions of the province trying to search for a comprehensive solution to its growing problems. Henan jumped in national GDP rankings from 28th in the early 1990s to 18th in 2004, when Li left Henan. However, his government was relatively ineffective at curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was affecting the rural areas of the province.

He was transferred to work as the Party Chief in Liaoning in December 2004. There he is known for the "Five-points to one Line" project, where he linked up Dalian and Dandong, as well as a series of other ports into a comprehensive network to improve trade flow.

Politburo Standing Committee member[edit]

Predictions he would eventually advance to the national level at the 17th Party Congress proved correct when he was elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) in October 2007. He was succeeded in his provincial post by Governor Zhang Wenyue. Li was among those touted as a possible successor to Hu Jintao, whose second term as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China ended in November 2012. Hu Jintao was however succeeded by another member of the Politburo, Xi Jinping. At the 2008 National People's Congress, he was elected Vice-Premier, first in rank. This position makes it seem more likely that he will succeed Premier Wen Jiabao. As a result of this, it is considered that he has lost out to Xi Jinping in the internal power struggle.[6]

During his first term in the PSC between 2007 and 2012, Li took on the most important portfolios in the Chinese government, ostensibly being groomed for his upcoming premiership. Li's first major appearance internationally was at the 2010 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The event was seen as an "acid test" for Li, whereby he succinctly presented China's long-term vision for development in front of world business and political leaders.[7] In particular, Li briefed the WEF on China's commitment to sustainable development, green energy, decrease the income gap, and the modernization of key strategic industries.[7] While reiterating Beijing's commitment to peaceful development and its focus in increasing domestic demand in the face of external pressures during the global financial crisis, Li also warned against protectionism, saying "opening up can be both bilateral and multilateral... in this sense, one plus one is more often than not bigger than two." He also touched upon the importance of international development, and international financial reform. He called for a global governance structure that was "more reflective of the changes in the global political and economic landscape."[8]

In February 2010, Li gave a speech to ministerial and provincial-level leaders about the importance of changing the economic structure of the country to be better poised for future growth. The speech was published with minor omissions in the 1 June issue of Qiushi, the Communist Party's political theory publication. Li said that China has come to a historical juncture whereby a change in the economic structure must take place for the country to continue its path of growth. Li particularly emphasized the need to boost domestic consumption, and said that urbanization is crucial in this phase.[9] Li also emphasized that China should be moving towards a more middle class-oriented society with an "olive"-shaped wealth distribution, with the majority of the country's population and wealth belonging to the middle class.[10]

He has also reiterated the importance of industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization in China in order to improve its competitiveness, food security, energy security, affordable housing, and healthcare.[11]

In August 2011, Li went on an official visit to Hong Kong, including a trip to the University of Hong Kong. The political sensitivities and heightened security surrounding the event resulted in the Hong Kong 818 incident, an event that caused controversy in the territory.

Premier of China[edit]

On 15 March 2013, Li Keqiang was elected by the 12th National People's Congress as Premier,[12] the number two position of the Chinese government after General Secretary and President Xi Jinping.[13] Li replaced Wen Jiabao, who retired after serving two terms as premier. Of the nearly 3,000 legislators of the Congress, 2,940 voted for him, three against, and six abstained.[12] He was elected for a five-year term, but is expected to serve two terms like his predecessor Wen.[12]

On 16 March, the Congress selected Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang, and Ma Kai as vice premiers according to Premier Li's Nomination.[14] He gave his first major speech March 17 at the conclusion of the National Peoples Congress, calling for frugality in government, a fairer distribution of income and continued economic reform. Li has focused his attention on China to move towards a consumption based economy instead of relying on export led growth.[15][16]

Li was ranked 14th of the 2013 Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People, after taking the office of Chinese Premier.[17]

Foreign policy[edit]

Li Keqiang made his first foreign visit to India on 18 May 2013 in a bid to resolve border disputes and to stimulate economic relations.[18] He said the choice of India as the first international visit highlights Chinese importance in its relations with the country.[19]

During his visit to Pakistan he met with top leadership of country and expressed his views "As Pakistan's closest friend and brother, we would like to provide as much assistance as we can for the Pakistani side".[20]

Li Keqiang also visited Switzerland and Germany, it is his first EU trip and he met two countries' leaders.[21]

National Security Commission[edit]

On January 24 2014, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced Li's appointment as first Vice Chairman of the National Security Commission under CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Li is married to Cheng Hong, a professor at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. His father-in-law was once the deputy secretary of the Communist Youth League Central Committee.[23]


  1. ^ "Li's title has been variously translated as "Executive Vice Premier" or "First Vice-Premier", though the practice of making explicit reference to the Vice Premier's rank has gradually been phased out since Deng Xiaoping last assumed the title of "First Vice Premier" during the Cultural Revolution. In state media, Li has almost always been referred to as simply the "Vice Premier".
  2. ^ "China's new top Party leaders make debut". China. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  3. ^ 《多维月刊》:李克强出身非平民,成长靠恩师(2) (in Chinese). 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Profile: Chinese First Vice Prime Minister Li Keqiang". Radio Free Europe. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Duowei: Li Keqiang helps Henan fight off the poverty". Chinese Newsnet (in Chinese). 10 June 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Power Players: Li Keqiang". The Diplomat. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Maidment, Paul (28 January 2010). "China's Li Delivers A Polished Future". Forbes. 
  8. ^ Li, Keqiang. "Davos Annual Meeting 2010 – Special Address by Li Keqiang". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Li, Keqiang. "Questions Concerning Changes to China's Economic Structure (关于调整经济结构促进持续发展的几个问题)". Qiushi. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Society Global Times[dead link]
  11. ^ Xinhua News Agency (11 October 2010). "China's vice premier urges accelerating industrialization, urbanization". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c "China confirms Li Keqiang as premier". BBC. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Li Keqiang named Chinese premier, government's second most powerful post". CNN. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Who’s Who in China’s New Government Leadership Lineup". Bloomberg. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  15. ^ DING QINGFEN (March 26, 2013). "Premier Li Keqiang focuses on consumption". China Daily. 
  16. ^ "Premier Li calls for courage, wisdom in upgrading economy". Xinhua. 31 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Li Keqiang". Forbes. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Chinese premier visits India". Al Jazeera English. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Chinese PM vows to build trust with India". Al Jazeera English. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  20. ^ "Chinese premier hopes for more fruits in friendship with Pakistan". Xinhuane. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Li visits four countries China Daily
  22. ^ "Xi Jinping to lead national security commission". China Daily. January 24, 2014. Retrieved Januey 31, 2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  23. ^ Li Keqiang's Wife and In-laws Duowei Monthly

External links[edit]