BREAKING: Ex-Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is Dead
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
Li Keqiang, the former Premier of China, passed away on October 26 due to a heart attack, less than a year after retiring from his role as the country’s second-highest-ranking leader, INCNews247 can report.
The state-run Global Times reported his death at 00:10 on October 27 (16:10 GMT on October 26) after all rescue measures failed.
The 68-year-old, who served two terms alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, found himself politically marginalized toward the end of his career as Xi consolidated more power over China’s government and economy.
In the aftermath of his death, news about Li was notably overshadowed in media outlets like People’s Daily and China Daily, which are considered mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party.
Li was once considered a strong contender for China’s top leadership position but ultimately lost out to Xi.
However, his tenure as Premier disappointed supporters at home and abroad who had hoped for further economic liberalization under his leadership. Instead, Xi’s rise and a shift toward greater authoritarianism overshadowed his role.
Adam Ni, an independent analyst and editor of the China Neican newsletter, described Li’s legacy as “forgettable” and noted that it wouldn’t have the same impact as the deaths of other famous Communist Party leaders like Zhou Enlai and Hu Yaobang, which had catalyzed instability and protests in China’s history.
Li’s efforts to guide China’s economy through the COVID-19 pandemic were overshadowed by the “zero COVID” policy, leading to slower economic growth.
Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, explained that Li’s premiership occurred during a time when China prioritized control over the economy, society, security, and ideology over economic performance. He was seen as a reformist who couldn’t fully pursue his reform agenda.
Li’s background was in rural China, where he was born in 1955 to a local government official.
Like many of his generation’s leaders, he experienced the Cultural Revolution in the countryside as a “sent down youth.” He later resumed his education and graduated from Peking University, where he associated with pro-democracy activists during a period of political and economic opening in the 1980s, which came to an end with the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Throughout his political career, Li aligned himself with the Communist Youth League and its patron, former Chinese President Hu Jintao.