Chinese premier Li Keqiang dies suddenly

 October 28, 2023

China's former premier Li Keqiang died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 68. 

The top Beijing official was a rising star under President Xi Jinping's predecessor Hu Jintao, but he fell out of favor as China moved in a starkly authoritarian direction under Xi.

At one time, Li was seen as Hu's likely successor.

Beijing said all efforts were made to bring Li back to life after he suffered a heart attack Thursday.

Top Chinese official dies

Li's death could be seen as the end of an era.

The renowned English-speaking economist served as the second-highest ranking official - a role in which he won praise for his shrewd stewardship of China's economy - until March.

Li was known as the last holdover from the Hu administration and - like Hu - had a reputation for being more liberal and Western in outlook than the iron-fisted Xi. Li's death likely portends an even more repressive government in China, BBC reported.

"Li's death means the loss of a prominent moderating voice within the senior levels of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with no one apparently being able to take over the mantle," Ian Chong, nonresident scholar at the Carnegie China think tank told the BBC.

"This probably means even less restraint on Mr Xi's exercise of power and authority."

Chinese citizens mourn

Chinese citizens mourned Li's death on the heavily restricted social media app Weibo, while the state news agency Xinhua issued a short obituary extolling him as a patriot.

“Li was extolled as an excellent (Communist Party of China) member, a time-tested and loyal communist soldier, and an outstanding proletarian revolutionist, statesman, and leader of the Party and the state,” the Xinhua News Agency said.

The Biden administration's top diplomat, Tony Blinken, expressed his condolences.

Under Xi, the regime in China has cracked down on domestic dissent, particularly the Uighur minority, raising objections in the West about human rights. Xi's aggressive foreign policy has also helped fuel historic tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Relations took a nosedive earlier this year when the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon that flew over America.

President Biden met Friday with a top Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi, ahead of a potential summit with Xi.

Biden said he emphasized that "the United States and China must work together to address global challenges.”

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.