Former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s demise months after retirement


Former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, an acclaimed economist who was once a strong contender against President Xi Jinping for the country’s top leadership role, died on Friday of a heart attack. Li, 68, suffered a heart attack on Thursday and passed away at 12:10 am in Shanghai after all measures to save him failed, China Daily reported. He was in the east Chinese metropolis for “rest”, the state-run daily said in a brief report.
Li at one time was a contender against Xi to head the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) but later settled for the number two position as Premier from March 2013 to March 2023.
He was an acclaimed economist and managed the “new normal” of economic slowdown after decades of high growth experienced by the world’s second-largest economy. He had an uneasy relationship with Xi, who as the President steadily consolidated his hold on power, emerging as the most powerful Chinese leader after party founder Mao Zedong.
“This is my last year as a premier,’’ Li, the second-ranking leader of the CPC after Xi at that time, said while answering a question on the economy at his last year’s customary press conference during the annual Parliament session.