Li Qiang

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Li Qiang
Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Press Conference 2023.jpg
Li in March 2023
8th Premier of the People's Republic of China
Assumed office
11 March 2023
Vice PremierDing Xuexiang
He Lifeng
Zhang Guoqing
Liu Guozhong
LeaderXi Jinping
Preceded byLi Keqiang
Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai
In office
29 October 2017 – 28 October 2022
DeputyYing Yong (Mayor)
Gong Zheng (Mayor)
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Preceded byHan Zheng
Succeeded byChen Jining
Communist Party Secretary of Jiangsu
In office
30 June 2016 – 29 October 2017
DeputyShi Taifeng (Governor)
Wu Zhenglong (Governor)
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Preceded byLuo Zhijun
Succeeded byLou Qinjian
Governor of Zhejiang
In office
21 December 2012 – 4 July 2016
Acting: 21 December 2012 – 30 January 2013
Party SecretaryXia Baolong
Preceded byXia Baolong
Succeeded byChe Jun
Personal details
Born (1959-07-23) 23 July 1959 (age 63)
Rui'an, Zhejiang, China
Political partyChinese Communist Party
Alma mater

Li Qiang (Chinese: ; pinyin: Lǐ Qiáng; born 23 July 1959) is a Chinese politician, currently serving as the 8th premier of the State Council of China since March 2023. He has served as the second-ranking member on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee Politburo Standing Committee since October 2022. He previously served as party secretary of Shanghai City from 2017 to 2022, party secretary of Jiangsu Province from 2016 to 2017, and governor of Zhejiang Province from 2012 to 2016.

Having joined the CCP in 1983, he first became secretary of the Communist Youth League of Rui'an, Zhejiang. Later serving in provincial department of civil affairs, he later became the party secretary of Yong Kang, Wenzhou, the Political Legal Affairs Secretary of Zhejiang and later the deputy party secretary of the province. He became the governor of Zhejiang in 2012, later the party secretary of Jiangsu province, and finally the party secretary of Shanghai in 2017. In the same year he was elevated to become a member of the CCP Politburo.

During his tenure in Shanghai, he opened the Shanghai Stock Exchange STAR Market, oversaw foreign investment in the city including Gigafactory Shanghai of Tesla, Inc., eased the requirements for internal migrants to obtain residency permits, and created five new towns to decrease the land supply shortage. Li oversaw a two-month lockdown in Shanghai in 2022, and was later that year promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee. In 2023, he became premier, succeeding Li Keqiang. Having served together with current CCP general secretary Xi Jinping in Zhejiang, Li is seen as a close ally of Xi. Despite his closeness to Xi, Li is also generally regarded as pro-business and has voiced support for economic reforms.

Early life and education[edit]

Li was born in Rui'an, Zhejiang in July 1959. He was a worker in the Irrigation Pump Station of Mayu District, Rui'an County from 1976 to 1977, and worked in the Third Tool Factory of Rui'an from 1977 to 1978.[1]

Li Qiang studied agricultural mechanization at the Ningbo Branch of Zhejiang Agricultural University (now Zhejiang Wanli College) from 1978 to 1982 after the resumption of Gaokao. He studied sociology by correspondence at the private China Sociology Correspondence University (Chinese: 中国社会学函授大学; defunct in 2021) in Beijing from 1985 to 1987.[1][2]

Li attended Zhejiang University for on-the-job graduate studies in management engineering from 1995 to 1997 and the Central Party School for on-the-job graduate studies in world economics from 2001 to 2004. He attended Hong Kong Polytechnic University from 2003 to 2005 and received an executive Master of Business Administration in 2005.[1]

Local leaderships[edit]


Li joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in April 1983. He was the secretary of the Communist Youth League of Rui'an County. He then served in progressively senior roles in the provincial department of civil affairs. He later became the Communist Party secretary of the city of Yongkang, and then party secretary of the prefecture-level city of Wenzhou. By then he was only 43, and was the youngest party secretary of Wenzhou in history.[3] In 2004, Li became the secretary-general of Zhejiang's Provincial Party Committee and earned a seat on its Standing Committee in the next year, serving under then Zhejiang's party secretary, Xi Jinping, in charge of administration and coordination.[4] During this time, he became close to Xi, eventually being regarded as a close ally of him.[5] In February 2011, he became the Political and Legal Affairs Secretary of Zhejiang province, and several months later was made deputy party secretary.[6]

According to Guangming Daily in 2015, during his tenure in Zhejiang Li told a professor at the Zhejiang University that the province's local government needed an "independent think-tank like the RAND Corporation" to evaluate its performance, saying that it was "very difficult" for official organizations and officials to give objective analysis and criticize their superiors.[7] This led the professor to establish a non-governmental group of experts in 2009, with Li as its honorary director.[7]

After the 18th CCP National Congress, he became an alternate member of the CCP Central Committee. On December 21, 2012, he became the acting governor of Zhejiang, succeeding Xia Baolong who was promoted to the provincial party secretary, and was officially elected as governor on January 30, 2013.[4][8] He served as governor until July 4, 2016.[citation needed] During his tenure in Zhejiang, he asked the non-governmental group of experts to write reports on his performance that "tell the truth", and later paid them a visit for a face-to-face feedback after feeling their first reports weren't critical enough.[7]

In 2014, when Zhejiang was preparing to hold an international internet conference, Li proposed that the host city turn into a pilot zone for unblocking China's strict internet controls for Western firms, an idea that was ultimately not approved by the central leadership.[9] He also started a project to create small towns that have a pro-business climate and good physical environments, a project endorsed and spread to rest of China by Xi.[9] The Economist reported in 2023 that "many such towns became speculative hotspots for housing developers".[7]


In 2015, Li accompanied CCP leader Xi Jinping on a state visit to the United States. On June 30, 2016, Li was named party secretary of Jiangsu province.[10] He served for 15 months, becoming the shortest serving Jiangsu party secretary in the history of the People's Republic. During his tenure, he arranged meetings with business officials such as Jack Ma of Alibaba Group to encourage investments.[9]


On October 29, 2017, following the 19th Party Congress, Li was appointed as the party secretary of Shanghai.[6][11] He was also appointed as a member of the CCP Politburo in the same year. He is considered to be "business-friendly", having implemented pro-business policies while in Shanghai such as the opening of the Shanghai Stock Exchange STAR Market.[12][13] He oversaw increasing foreign investment in the city, including the gigafactory of Tesla, Inc.[14] He has also implemented policies like lowering the threshold for internal migrants to obtain residency permits and creating five new towns to lessen the land supply shortage.[15] In 2022, Li was blamed for a two-month lockdown in Shanghai, which significantly impacted the economy.[16] Nevertheless, reportedly he was more open to the idea with living with COVID.[9] According to The Wall Street Journal, Li is one of the few people in the top leadership that wants China to introduce Western mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Reportedly, he tried to arrange for BioNTech to provide its vaccines in China.[9]


Following the first plenary session of the 20th CCP Central Committee, Li was appointed to the CCP Politburo Standing Committee.[17] He was expected to become premier in 2023,[18] the first since 1976 to rise directly to premiership from local government without any prior working experience in the central government, especially as a vice premier.[19] Observers have said that the lack of Beijing experience makes him heavily dependent on support from Xi to run the State Council.[20] Reuters reported on 3 March 2023, citing sources, that Li pushed for the quick relaxation of zero-COVID rules in late 2022, resisting pressure from Xi, who wanted to slow the pace of the reopening. It also reported that Li had become the head of the CCP's COVID taskforce, and had also encouraged local governments to continue loosening COVID restrictions.[21]

Li took office as premier on 11 March, taking over from Li Keqiang.[22] He is the first person since Zhou Enlai to be premier without holding prior office as vice-premier.[23]

Political views[edit]

Economy and business[edit]

Despite his closeness to Xi, Li is seen as pro-business and supportive of economic reforms.[15][12][24] According to The Economist, "[r]educing bureaucratic interference in the market is one of his favourite themes".[7] In 2003 during his tenure in Wenzhou, he said that "without the private economy, Wenzhou’s urban development would be set back by at least a century".[9] In 2014, Li said that "there should be more Alibabas and more Jack Mas". Li said in 2015 that economic reforms were a matter of "life and death" and that "the government cannot be an unlimited government." He also said that "to build a limited yet effective modern government, you need to transfer a lot of managerial power to social organizations."[24] According to The Wall Street Journal, Li has close ties with Jack Ma.[9] The newspaper also reported that Li suggested to the government to ease its regulatory actions against businesses and acted as a mediatory between businesses and the government during the government's crackdown on private businesses.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Unusual in senior Chinese politics, Li has emphasized his local identity, namely his ties to Wenzhou. He set up the World Wenzhounese Conference to encourage members of the global Wenzhounese diaspora to invest back in the city, and told the conference in 2013 that "I was born and bred a Wenzhounese" and "[t]he Wenzhounese spirit of daring to be the first and especially of strong entrepreneurship has always inspired and nourished me".[7]


  1. ^ a b c Xinhua News Agency (2017-10-25). "李强同志简历-新华网". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on 2022-10-19. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  2. ^ Zhang, Yu (2021-10-29). "北京26所民办学校办学许可证被注销". Archived from the original on 2022-10-23. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  3. ^ "李强浙江往事:改革是贯穿始终的头等大事". 12 July 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b 李强 [Li Qiang] (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  5. ^ Munroe, Tony; Tian, Yew Lun (2022-10-12). "After COVID lockdown, eyes on Shanghai chief at party congress". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
  6. ^ a b 李强 [Li Qiang] (in Chinese). People's Daily. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "China's new head of government, Li Qiang, has Xi Jinping's ear". The Economist. 12 March 2023. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  8. ^ "夏宝龙当选浙江人大常委会主任 李强当选省长". January 30, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Chun, Han Wong; Zhai, Keith. "China's No. 2 Is a Business Pragmatist and a Party Loyalist. Which Will Prevail?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  10. ^ "李强任江苏省委书记,罗志军不再担任". June 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "李强兼任上海市委书记 韩正不再兼任". October 29, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Xie, Keith Zhai and Stella Yifan. "China's New Slate of Top Leaders Stirs Concern Over Economy". WSJ. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  13. ^ "Xi Jinping promotes loyal Shanghai chief to upper echelons of power". Financial Times. 2022-10-23. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  14. ^ "Li Qiang sheds Shanghai Covid chaos to enter Communist Party inner circle". South China Morning Post. 2022-10-23. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  15. ^ a b "Li Qiang sheds Shanghai Covid chaos to enter Communist Party inner circle". South China Morning Post. 2022-10-23. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  16. ^ Chia, Kyrstal (28 April 2022). "Xi in a Bind Over Who to Blame for Shanghai's Covid Outbreak". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
  17. ^ "Communique of the first plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Committee".
  18. ^ "China's Xi expands powers, promotes allies". CTVNews. 2022-10-23. Retrieved 2022-10-23.
  19. ^ Baptista, Eduardo; Munroe, Tony; Pollard, Martin Quin (23 October 2022). "China's next premier Li: A Xi loyalist who oversaw Shanghai lockdown". Reuters. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  20. ^ Bradsher, Keith (23 October 2022). "A loyal aide in Shanghai takes a leading role in Beijing". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  21. ^ Zhu, Julie; Yew, Lun Tian; Tham, Engen (3 March 2023). "How China's new No.2 hastened the end of Xi's zero-COVID policy". Reuters. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  22. ^ Chen, Laurie; Munroe, Tony (2023-03-11). "Li Qiang becomes China's premier, tasked with reviving economy". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  23. ^ Ruwitch, John (2023-03-13). "Xi Jinping's show: Who's who in China's new government". Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  24. ^ a b "Li Qiang, Xi's right-hand man". Financial Times. 2022-10-28. Retrieved 2022-10-29.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Communist Party Secretary of Wenzhou
Succeeded by
Wang Jianman (王建满)
Preceded by
Zhang Xi (张曦)
Secretary-General of the CCP Zhejiang Provincial Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CCP Zhejiang Provincial Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Communist Party Secretary of Zhejiang
Succeeded by
Preceded by Communist Party Secretary of Jiangsu
Succeeded by
Preceded by Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of Zhejiang
Succeeded by
Preceded by Premier of the State Council