Li Keqiang: A man who prioritizes people’s concerns

 

Li Keqiang feeds a child with sugar-pill in a health service center in Fangzhuang community in Beijing on April 25, 2011 as he attends activities celebrating the children's vaccination day and inspects the work of healthcare reform in Beijing. Photos: Xinhua

China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang, a man known for his people-oriented ruling philosophy, in 2008 became the country’s youngest Vice Premier in the past 20 years at 53.

Li ranked 13th on the world's 71 most powerful people list, which was publicized by the Forbes in December from among the roughly 7.1 billion global populace based on factors ranging from wealth to global influence. How did he become a major figure in China’s political arena and what shaped the tenacious and determined reformist Li?

Scholarly temperament

Born in 1955 in east China's Anhui Province (安徽), Li spent his formative years studying sinology, Chinese language and culture, from Li Cheng (李诚), a master of Chinese culture with the Anhui Provincial Research Institute of Cultural History.

This rare experience, combined with his later education at Peking University, turned him into a learned, eloquent person with a quick wit.

"I came here not only for knowledge, but also to cultivate my temperament and foster a learning style," Li once wrote in an essay to explain his love of Peking University.

After 10 years of study at Peking University, Li earned a bachelor's degree in law and master's and doctorate degrees in economics. He has excelled in China's officialdom due to his academic accomplishments and international perspective.

Upon graduation, Li gave up a chance to go to study in the US, instead he opted to stay to be the secretary of the Communist Youth League Peking University Committee(共青团北京大学委员会).
His unconventional and liberal view of points on the then political and social issues made him an “alien” in the eyes of other people. In 1982, He was elected as a standing committee member of the Youth League Central Committee, an organization of advanced young people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Since then, his political career has taken off.


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