Cautious enforcer to be China’s premier

Associated Press


The man in line to oversee China’s massive but rapidly slowing economy for the coming decade speaks English and comes from a generation of politicians schooled during a time of greater openness to liberal Western ideas than their predecessors.

But Li Keqiang also has been a cautious bureaucrat who rose through, and is bound by, a consensus-oriented Communist Party that has been slow to reform its massive state-owned enterprises while reflexively stifling dissent — and he has been an enforcer keeping a lid on bad news.

Li, to be promoted within the leadership’s top council after a pivotal party congress closes later this week and expected to take the economy-focused post of premier from outgoing Wen Jiabao next spring, was governor of the agricultural province of Henan in 1998 during an unusual explosion of AIDS cases.

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