Li Keqiang,, Han ethnic, born in Dingyuan, Anhui Province, July 1955, joined the workforce in March 1974, joined the Communist Party of China in May 1976, graduated from the Faculty of Law and Economics of Peking University, majoring in economics. On March 15th, 2013, the first meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress of China elected Li Keqiang as the Premier of the State Council. Since then, China has opened the era of “Xi Li”.
Youthful Blood: Souls That Contribute To the World
Prime Minister Li Keqiang was born in an ordinary family. At the age of 19, Li Keqiang joined the Community Temple of Fengyang County in Anhui Province. After more than four years of rural educated youth life, he adopted a deep understanding and feelings for the farmers. He is not afraid of hardship, engaged in agricultural science and technology, worked together with the farmers, and has won the unanimous approval of local farmers and educated youths. He served as the party secretary of the Community Temple Brigade and became a village official.
In 1978, Li Keqiang was admitted to the Law Department of Peking University and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in law. He mastered in English language, the government system and the law through hard work. He also obtained a Master and a Doctorate degree in economics from Peking University. Li Keqiang’s paper entitled “On the Ternary Structure of China’s Economy” won the Sun Yefang Economic Science Award, the highest award in China’s economics field. Peking University has a strong patriotic tradition. Li Keqiang at this university in the north has a lofty ideal of contributing to the world.
The Central Plain: Curing It CuringChina
Henan, the largest agricultural province in, has the largest population and is a microcosm of China. As the saying goes, curing the Central Plain can cure China. Since the summer of 1998, he had served as the governor of Henan and the secretary of the provincial party committee, which lasted for six and a half years. When he first arrived in Henan, there was the financial crisis in Southeast Asia, and Henan’s economic growth was difficult. After in-depth research, he believed that Henan must work hard to adjust the supplies structure, take market demand as the guide, accelerate the immediate adjustment of the industrial structure, and stimulate the economy to stabilize and rebound. He presided over a series of policies to stimulate the structural adjustment of industrial products, encouraged technological transformation of enterprises, and expanded the production of marketable products. The province’s economy has rapidly recovered its growth.
The major issue that affects the overall situation of Henan is the three agricultural issues. The fundamental way out is to accelerate industrialization. Li Keqiang believes that Henan’s industrial restructuring should be based on giving play to comparative advantages, focusing on cultivating the five pillar industries of food, non-ferrous metals, machinery, chemicals and textiles, and promoting the strategic adjustment of industrial structure on a large scale. At the same time, he systematically planned the development of Henan’s industrial development, put forward the strategic measures for the construction of Zhengluo’s industrial corridor, vigorously promoted the construction of advanced manufacturing bases in Luoyang, and supported Zhengzhou to accelerate the transformation of old industrial bases and build strong industrial cities.
At the end of 1998, Li Keqiang sharply grasped the opportunity to implement the strategy of developing the western region of the Central Plain and put forward the strategic idea of leading eastward and westward. In 2004, the implementation of the strategy to strengthen the province with talents was proposed, making Henan a place for all kinds of talents with ingenuity of wisdom and intelligence to gather.
Li Keqiang realized that in accelerating the strategic adjustment of industrial structure, it is necessary to also accelerate the urban agglomeration process simultaneously. This is then regarded as an important strategy for Henan’s development. Since 2003, Li Keqiang has advocated a systematic development plan of the Central Plain’s urban agglomeration. Focusing on the construction of Zhengzhou, he has become the leader of the economic uplift of the Central Plains urban agglomeration. He personally planned to promote the construction of Zhengdong New District, build a demonstration zone for building a modern city in Henan and model the optimization of Henan’s economic environment.
Operating the Northeast: “The Eldest Son of the Republic” Revives the Glory
Liaoning is known as the “Liao Lao Da” and is an important industrial base in China. Some large state-owned enterprises are aptly called “the eldest son of the Republic.” In December 2004, Li Keqiang was transferred to Liaoning, and the institutional and structural contradictions of the old industrial base in Liaoning were still outstanding. Li Keqiang stressed that it is necessary to plan the development of Liaoning with strategic thinking and globalized vision.
Li Keqiang formulated the goal of comprehensively revitalizing Liaoning’s old industrial base, adhered to the reform and opening up as the driving force, and took structural adjustment as the main line, so that the overall level of Liaoning’s economic and social development entered the ranks of developed eastern regions as soon as possible. To this end, he fully promoted and implemented three key tasks. Firstly, he focused on the advantages of location resources, cultivated new economic growth areas, promoted the coordinated development of the province’s economy, and vigorously implemented the development and opening up of the “five points and one line” coastal economic belt, and integrated the development of Shenyang Economic Zone, which broke through the development strategies of the three major regions in northwestern Liaoning and constructed a new pattern of economic and social development along the coast. Secondly, he firmly grasped the key to institutional innovation, adhered to technological innovation to lead structural adjustment, put the development of advanced equipment manufacturing on top of the list, and accelerated the establishment of Liaoning into an important new industrial base of the country. Lastly, he solved the key livelihood issues and built a harmonious Liaoning, so that the development results benefit the people of the province.
He actively promoted the introduction of strategic investors by local state-owned enterprises, especially the strategic restructuring of partners with Chinese investment enterprises, and coordinated solutions to mechanisms, technologies, resources, markets, etc., and formed a group of large-scale competitive enterprise groups. In 2007, 90% of the state-owned large-scale industrial enterprises in the province completed the shareholding system transformation. Moreover, state-owned SMEs basically completed the reform of the property rights system. The profits of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises increased up to 45.5%, showing a huge explosive increase.
Li Keqiang had only worked in Liaoning for less than three years, and the total GDP has exceeded 1 trillion Yuan. The general budgetary revenue of local finance has exceeded 100 billion Yuan. The economic strength has leapt to a new level, digesting a lot of historical problems and laying a foundation for Liaoning to regain its glory. A solid foundation for revitalizing Liaoning had been laid out.
Central Political Participation: Difficult to Beat the Main Attack
In 2008, Li Keqiang began to serve as the vice premier of the State Council, in charge of economic and social affairs such as development and reform, finance, urban and rural construction, environmental protection, land and resources, health, etc., and vigorously promoted the reform of the medical and health system, fuel tax and fee reform, as well as the reform of business tax to VAT. He has since then been called “the master of solving complex economic and social problems.”
In 2009, Li Keqiang was appointed responsible for formulating the “Proposal of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Formulating the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development.” Li Keqiang pointed out that China can only continue to develop by speeding up the transformation of its economic development mode, emphasizing the promotion of institutional innovation, strengthening social construction and improving people’s livelihood. He conducted research and discussion on the central and western regions, the eastern region and the northeast region respectively, and promoted the formation of corresponding institutional innovation and social development plans according to the actual conditions of each region. Starting from various aspects such as agriculture, energy, service and financial industries, strategic discussions and planning on how to adjust China’s economic structure and social management and service mechanism were carried out. In this case, Li Keqiang focused on five aspects. First was to promote structural adjustment. Second was to accelerate scientific and technological innovation. Thirdly, was to strengthen energy conservation and environmental protection. Next was to improve people’s livelihood. And last was to deepen reform and opening up. China’s “12th Five-Year Plan” represents China’s continued transformation in the process of economic development. The central task is a new open China; a new China that integrates into the world.
The reform of the medical and health system is a worldwide problem. Li Keqiang believes that the health standard of a nation determines the overall quality of the nation and the core competitiveness. In March 2009, “Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Deepening the Reform of the Medical and Health System” and the “Key Implementation Plan for the Reform of the Medical and Health System (2009-2011)” have been released one after another. These systems have been praised as “the Chinese solution to solve the world’s problems”. For more than three years, as the head of the State Council’s leading group for deepening the reform of the medical and health system, Li Keqiang led the various regions and relevant departments to successively and systematically started the “five major battles”, namely the construction of the basic medical security system, the establishment of the national essential medicine system, the improvement of the basic medical and health service system, the promotions of the gradual equalization of basic public health services and the pilot reform of public hospitals. At present, the number of basic medical insurance for urban workers, urban residents and new rural cooperative medical care have exceeded 1.3 billion. The Chinese government has fulfilled their commitment to provide medical care for the sick, enhancing the social security of the people and promoting the stable development of their society.
Deepen Reform: The Biggest Dividend That Benefits the Public
Li Keqiang is widely known as the “reformer” by Chinese and foreign media. Six days after the closing of the 18th National Congress, he claimed that the reform must move forward and there is no retreat. He also mentioned that reform is China’s biggest dividend, and is one of the hot expressions most encouraging to the Chinese. At a symposium, he once again reiterated: “We said that reform is China’s biggest dividend. Now, let this profit transpire more on the people.”
Li Keqiang said that GDP should not be pursued in a one-sided manner. Future development may experience a period of medium-speed growth. It is difficult to maintain double-digit rate of development for a long time, but as long as a 7% growth is maintained, it is entirely possible to achieve a well-off society by 2020. What does achieving this goal depend upon? It still depends on reform. The space and potential for reform are still enormous.
Regarding the steps, Li Keqiang emphasized that the reform must have both top-level design and respect for the root initiative. After more than 30 years of reforming and opening up, China has accumulated rich experience. However, China is too huge with a population of 1.3 billion. The region is vast, rendering very complicated national conditions. Going with only the top design is not enough. The starting point of China’s reform and opening up is to respect the initiative of the masses. Today, this spirit must continue to be carried forward. He encouraged 11 experimental areas to create advanced teams and scouts to be reformed.
The first and foremost current problems in China are imbalanced development and urban-rural distribution, as well as the closely-related income distribution systems. Not only this involves the reform of the household registration system, but also a series of other issues such as the land management system and the reform of the public service system. At the moment, China has encountered various bottlenecks, such as energy, resources and environment. What should be done to overcome such constraints, achieve sustainable development, and transform the economic development? The economic sector should give more play to the fundamental role of market allocation resources. The social sector should make better use of the power of society, including the power of social organizations, as well as giving the market and society a role in development. This also aligns with the direction of the reformation.
“Reforms are like swimming against the tide, you will be washed away,” Li Keqiang said. He also mentioned, “The Chinese nation has suffered through hardships for more than 100 years. Now China is only a few steps away from national rejuvenation. We have great responsibilities and must go forward. We must be brave in trying. This is our responsibility.”
International Vision: Clarifying the Chinese Concept, Promoting Pragmatic Cooperation
Li Keqiang visited many countries in the world while working in the Communist Youth League, giving him very rich diplomatic experience. Since 2009, Li Keqiang had made five major visits to Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Hungary, Belgium and the European Union headquarters.
Wherever Li Keqiang went, he never failed to clarify the Chinese concept, so to promote pragmatic cooperation, and with his personal style, presenting a new diplomatic paradigm. He fully demonstrated his great communication skills, sense of humor and composure in every situation. He faced the media, the public and talked with the leaders with full confidence. The use of his visual language had received good results. Li Keqiang described the road of common progress between China and Russia not always as flat as Nevsky Street. This vivid comparison was praised by the Russian newspaper. The British Financial Times published an article by a senior British diplomat saying, “Li Keqiang was very attractive, very rational and just right, and has a good sense of humor; obviously, he is very familiar with economic affairs and has a solid foundation, as well as strong interest in the development of new technologies.”
Li Keqiang has a strong mind. He is an ardent defender of national interests. When German officials asked him to change the rare earth export policy, Li Keqiang publicly refused and shocked the world, reflecting the new trend of China’s diplomacy.
The first meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress of China established the Xi Li system from the legal point of view. This is a national rejuvenation system and a system for realizing the Chinese dream. China’s future is not only a period of strategic opportunities, but also a period of contradictions. Li Keqiang has come all the way, opened the road to the mountains, bridged the waters, and dealt with difficult, urgent and major events extremely well, showing his elegant style of leadership. It is expected that under the Xi Li system, the Chinese society will lay a solid foundation for the realization of the millennium dream of national rejuvenation.