Li Qiang Appointed Chinese Premier – During the ongoing annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, Xi Jinping has nominated Li Qiang, 63, to become premier, the official Xinhua news agency said. Li Qiang will succeed Li Keqiang, who became premier in 2013 amid high expectations that he would implement liberal reforms. Xi, however, gradually sidelined Li Keqiang and appointed his supporters to important strategic positions in his place.
Li Qiang is the former head of the Communist Party of China’s largest city, Shanghai. Li Keqiang will step down at the end of the National People’s Congress session on Monday, after having served two five-year terms. Li Qiang is a close associate of Xi, having served as his chief of staff from 2004 to 2007 when Xi was provincial party secretary of Zhejiang province in eastern China.
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During the five-yearly Communist party convention in October, he was appointed to the number-two position on the politburo standing committee, putting him on the path to premiership. Xi is placing a slate of loyalists in important positions as part of the largest government upheaval in a decade, as a generation of reform-minded bureaucrats retires and Xi consolidates his power after being elected president for a third term on Friday.
Xinhua reported on Saturday that Liu Jinguo was nominated for director of the National Commission of Supervision, which oversees the government’s anti-corruption efforts. Zhang Jun was nominated for the position of president of the supreme people’s court, while Ying Yong was nominated for the position of procurator general of China’s top people’s procuratorate.
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