Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, passed away due to a sudden heart attack on October 27, 2023. Aged 68, he concluded his career in March, 2023 after completing two terms in office alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Leadership Structure and Role of the Chinese Premier
The leader of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, commonly referred to as the Chinese premier, holds the position of the country’s head of government and also leads the State Council.
This role represents the second-highest authority in China’s political hierarchy, ranking below the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party/president of China, and commands the highest position in the central government’s civil service.The premier’s term is five years in duration and can be renewed.
From Rural Beginnings to Elite Education
Born in rural China in 1955 to a local government official, Li Keqiang experienced the hardships of the Cultural Revolution, during which he, like many of his generation, was designated a “sent-down youth” and spent time in the countryside.
However, Li’s commitment to education and personal growth remained unwavering. He eventually managed to return to his studies and graduated from the prestigious Peking University. It was during this time that he became acquainted with pro-democracy activists, as the 1980s marked a period of political and economic opening in China.
A Representative of the First Generation
In 1982, Li assumed the role of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) secretary at Peking University. He progressed to the highest echelons of the national CYLC leadership in 1983 when he became a member of its secretariat. Li’s tenure as the organization’s first secretary extended from 1993 to 1998, marking him as a prominent representative of the first generation to have ascended from CYLC leadership.
Li Keqiang’s Resignation from the CCP Central Committee and Premier of China
Li resigned as a member of the CCP Central Committee in October 2022, and on March 11, 2023, he completed his term as China’s premier, with Li Qiang taking over his role.
Key takeaways for competitive examinations
- The current and 8th premier of the People’s Republic of China : Li Qiang