A Swift End to a Prominent Political Career Former Premier Li Keqiang, known for his moderate political stances within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), succumbed to a heart attack, as confirmed by state media. Despite swift medical intervention, Li departed shortly after midnight on Friday.
Shadows of Leadership: From Promise to Isolation Keqiang was initially predicted to emerge as the future leader of China. However, President Xi Jinping’s rapid rise left him overshadowed. Li’s prominent role in the Chinese political hierarchy was often juxtaposed against the backdrop of his increasing isolation, particularly as he remained aloof from President Xi’s close-knit circle of loyalists. His passing, as noted by Ian Chong of the Carnegie China think tank, could signify an unchecked expansion of Xi’s authority.
The Legacy of Li Keqiang Li’s journey, from humble beginnings in Dingyuan County, Anhui province, to holding one of China’s top positions, was emblematic of his sharp intellect and determination. He was an alumnus of the illustrious Peking University Law School and is globally recognized for the ‘Li Keqiang index’ – an informal metric signifying China’s economic trajectory.
Despite his political sidelining, Li’s contributions, particularly his emphasis on bridging the economic disparity and championing affordable housing, remain noteworthy. His advocacies also included fostering innovation and encouraging young entrepreneurs. Bert Hofman, a professor at the National University of Singapore, remembered him as an individual committed to elevating China’s global standing.
A Career Overshadowed by Challenges Towards the culmination of his tenure, Li found himself amidst the challenges posed by China’s strict zero-Covid policy. His call for striking a balance between economic growth and pandemic restrictions often clashed with the more rigid approach championed by Xi.
Public Mourning vs. State Media’s Muted Response The news of Li’s demise saw a surge of sorrow and shock on Chinese social platforms like Weibo. However, state-run media outlets presented a noticeably reserved stance, refraining from offering an in-depth evaluation of Li’s political journey.
Li Keqiang’s death marks the end of an era of a leader known for his moderation and pragmatic approach. As China navigates its global role and internal challenges, the absence of his voice might resonate for years to come.