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Remembering the legacy of Li Keqiang: A great leader’s demise

A close colleague and friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping passes away

Metro Matters
Manzar Naqvi

The world was deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected news of the passing of Li Keqiang, a prominent leader within the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former premier of the State Council. Li Keqiang, renowned for his close collaboration and friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, leaves behind a legacy of dedicated service to the Party and the nation. As condolences pour in from leaders around the globe, let us take a closer look at the life and accomplishments of this exceptional statesman.
Born in July 1955 in Dingyuan, in east China’s Anhui Province, Li Keqiang’s journey in the political arena commenced early. In March 1974, he became an educated youth, and by May 1976, he had become a member of the Communist Party of China. His unwavering commitment to the Party’s ideals and principles was evident from the outset.
Li Keqiang’s educational journey was marked by dedication and leadership. From March 1978 to February 1982, he studied at the Department of Law at Peking University, where he also served as the head of the Students’ Union. This period laid the foundation for his future leadership roles within the Party and the country.
Li Keqiang’s political career took off in the 1980s as he held various positions within the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC). He served as the secretary of the Peking University Committee of the CYLC Central Committee, director of the School Department of the CYLC Central Committee, and secretary-general of the All-China Students’ Federation. His dedication and leadership qualities soon became evident, propelling him further up the political ladder.
Starting in 1998, Li served in key roles in Henan, including deputy secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee, acting governor, and later governor of the province. His tenure was marked by efforts to revitalize central China, resulting in significant progress across various sectors.
In December 2004, he assumed the role of secretary of the CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee, where he continued his impressive track record of achievements, particularly in the revitalization of old industrial bases in Liaoning.
In October 2007, Li Keqiang was elected as a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and its standing committee. His political acumen and dedication to the Party’s goals were increasingly recognized.
Appointment as Premier: In March 2013, Li Keqiang was appointed as the premier of the State Council. He played a crucial role in responding to international financial crises, promoting economic restructuring, and advancing environmental protection measures. Throughout his tenure, he worked tirelessly to improve the well-being of the Chinese people, addressing issues in employment, education, housing, healthcare, and elderly care.
Li Keqiang’s leadership during challenging times is noteworthy. He navigated the complex domestic and international situations, including the COVID-19 epidemic and economic pressures, with resolve and pragmatism. Under the guidance of the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping, he pursued progress while ensuring stability and implemented the new development philosophy, promoting high-quality and balanced development.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Li Keqiang took on the crucial role of leading the central leading group for COVID-19 response. His efforts were instrumental in achieving significant achievements in both epidemic control and economic development during a time of crisis.
Li Keqiang’s legacy also includes significant contributions to economic reforms. He worked tirelessly to strike a balance between government and market forces, promoting an efficient market and a well-functioning government. Reforms in areas such as fiscal and tax systems, financial sectors, investment, and science and technology were advanced under his leadership.
Retirement and Continued Commitment: Li Keqiang’s retirement from the position of premier in March 2023 did not mark the end of his commitment to the Party and the nation. He continued to uphold the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and actively supported efforts to improve the Party’s conduct, integrity, and anti-corruption initiatives.
Legacy of Dedication: Li Keqiang’s life was one of unwavering commitment to the ideals of the Communist Party of China and dedicated service to the Chinese people. His sudden passing is a great loss to both the Party and the nation. As condolences pour in from around the world, it is clear that Li’s legacy as a leader, statesman, and friend of President Xi Jinping will be remembered for generations to come.
Li’s Vision for China: Throughout his career, following President Xi Jinping’s vision, Li Keqiang remained deeply committed to advancing the goals of the Communist Party of China and the betterment of Chinese society. He often spoke about the importance of innovation, economic development, and social progress. His vision for China was one of stability, balanced growth, and social well-being.
Li’s dedication to economic reform and innovation was instrumental in China’s transformation into a global economic powerhouse. He consistently advocated for the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation while emphasizing the need for efficient government intervention. This approach not only accelerated economic growth but also improved the overall quality of life for Chinese citizens.
Under Li’s leadership, China made significant strides in environmental protection and sustainable development. He recognized the importance of addressing climate change and worked towards reducing emissions and conserving energy. These efforts not only contributed to a cleaner environment but also bolstered China’s reputation as a responsible global actor in the fight against climate change.
A Friend to President Xi Jinping: One of the defining aspects of Li Keqiang’s political career was his close cooperation and friendship with President Xi Jinping. Together, they formed a dynamic partnership that helped steer China through challenging times. Their collaboration was characterized by mutual trust, shared goals, and a commitment to the Party’s mission.
President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang worked hand in hand to implement the Party’s vision for China’s future. Their synergy was evident in their response to crises such as the global financial downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ability to balance economic stability with growth, social welfare, and environmental sustainability showcased their leadership prowess.
Condolences from Around the World: The passing of Li Keqiang has elicited condolences from world leaders, including His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Presidential Court.
Li Keqiang’s contributions to the global community were also recognized by various international leaders. His commitment to multilateralism, environmental protection, and economic cooperation made him a respected figure on the world stage.
Turning Grief into Strength: As the world mourns the loss of Li Keqiang, the obituary notice issued by the CPC Central Committee, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the State Council, and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference calls for turning grief into strength. The notice urges unity around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and a shared commitment to building a strong country and achieving national rejuvenation.