"China mourns the loss of former premier Li Keqiang: A reflection on his legacy"China,LiKeqiang,formerpremier,mourning,legacy
"China mourns the loss of former premier Li Keqiang: A reflection on his legacy"

“China mourns the loss of former premier Li Keqiang: A reflection on his legacy”

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China‘s Former Premier Li Keqiang Mourned as Legacy is Examined

October 27, 2023 | By


The passing of Li Keqiang, China‘s former premier, at the age of 68 has ignited a wave of mourning and reflection on his legacy. Li, who served under President Xi Jinping from 2013 until his retirement earlier this year, was once viewed as a potential successor to Xi. However, their relationship soured over the years, leading to Li’s marginalization within the Chinese Communist Party. His death comes at a critical time for China, as the country grapples with an economic downturn and a significant reshuffling of power within the ruling party.

A Sudden Demise

According to Chinese state media, Li Keqiang suffered a sudden heart attack on October 26 while resting in Shanghai and passed away at midnight on October 27. As per official protocol, an obituary will be published later. His funeral ceremony will be held in Shanghai, followed by transportation of his remains to Beijing. President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are expected to welcome Li’s remains in a Beijing airport, along with other senior CCP officials. Li’s body will be cremated at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing, and a memorial service will be held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

A Marginalized Leader

Li Keqiang’s tenure as premier was marked by his promises to pursue market-oriented reform and combat government corruption. At the start of his term, he was seen as a potential force for economic and political transformation in China. However, his influence gradually waned as President Xi Jinping consolidated power and tightened control over the economy and society. Xi’s ousting of Li from the Standing Committee at a party congress in 2022 signaled the end of his political career, despite being two years below the informal retirement age of 70.

This sidelining of Li was seen as a reflection of the power struggle between different factions within the Chinese Communist Party. Li, representing the Communist Youth League faction, was viewed as a dissident by Xi Jinping, who belonged to the “princeling” faction. Some experts believe that Li’s passing removes any remaining threat to Xi’s authority.

Philosophical Reflections

Li Keqiang’s rise and fall within the Chinese political landscape raise broader philosophical questions about power, leadership, and the nature of political transitions. The conflicts between different factions and the consolidation of power under President Xi Jinping highlight the complexities of governance in authoritarian systems. The sidelining of a leader once seen as a potential change agent raises questions about the potential for reform and the limitations of individual influence in highly centralized systems.

Additionally, Li’s passing underscores the fragility of political legacies and the transient nature of power. While he may have entered his role with aspirations of economic reform and anti-corruption efforts, his influence was ultimately limited by larger political forces. This raises the question of how leaders can effectively pursue meaningful reforms in authoritarian political systems, where power dynamics and factional struggles can quickly overshadow individual influence.

Editorial: The Future of China‘s Path

A Time for Reflecting and Reassessing

The passing of Li Keqiang provides an opportunity for China to reflect on its political trajectory and reassess its approach to governance. Li’s tenure as premier was marked by promises of market-oriented reforms and combating corruption, which resonated with many within China and abroad. However, his marginalization within the ruling party raises doubts about the feasibility of such reforms under the current political structure.

The Dilemma of Centralized Power

China‘s system of highly centralized power has allowed for rapid economic growth and transformation over the past few decades. However, it also raises serious concerns about accountability, transparency, and the potential for abuse of power. Li Keqiang’s sidelining ultimately highlights the risks associated with concentrating power in the hands of a few individuals, even in the name of stability and development.

A Call for Pragmatic Reforms

If China aspires to maintain its economic momentum and address pressing challenges such as corruption and social inequality, it must find a way to balance centralized control with the need for pragmatic and inclusive decision-making processes. This requires creating systems that encourage constructive debate, foster participation from diverse voices, and ensure accountability at all levels of governance.

Advice for the Future

As China mourns the loss of Li Keqiang and reflects on its political trajectory, there are several lessons to be learned for the future. Firstly, there is a need to foster an environment that promotes leadership diversity and inclusiveness. This includes creating opportunities for emerging leaders to rise through the ranks and contribute their unique perspectives and expertise. A rigid power structure that sidelines potential change agents ultimately limits the country’s ability to adapt and address emerging challenges.

Secondly, China must find ways to balance centralized control with transparency and accountability. This includes strengthening institutions and processes that hold leaders accountable for their actions, and ensuring that decision-making is not solely in the hands of a few individuals. Increased transparency and accountability will help build trust among the Chinese population and international observers alike.

Lastly, there is a need for continuous reflection and reassessment of China‘s political system and its compatibility with modern governance norms. The passing of Li Keqiang serves as a reminder that political legacies can be fragile and subject to the whims of larger power dynamics. China must critically evaluate its political structure and explore potential reforms that can enhance its ability to navigate complex economic, social, and political challenges.

As China enters a period of mourning, it also enters a critical juncture in its political development. The legacy of Li Keqiang and the circumstances surrounding his passing should serve as a catalyst for reflection, dialogue, and ultimately, positive change.


"China mourns the loss of former premier Li Keqiang: A reflection on his legacy"
<< photo by Aditya Wardhana >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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