Li Qiang Elected as New Premier of China

BEIJING — Li Qiang, the former Communist Party chief of Shanghai, is the new premier of China. He was elected to the position at the National People’s Congress on Saturday morning, receiving a vote of 2,936-3, with eight abstentions.[0]

Li Qiang, 63, is a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and will now be in charge of reviving an economy battered by three years of COVID-19 curbs. He is the first premier since the founding of the People’s Republic never to have served previously in the central government, meaning he may face a steep learning curve in the initial months on the job, analysts said.[1]

Li Qiang was promoted to the Communist Party's highest decision-making body — the seven-strong Politburo Standing Committee — last October, replacing Li Keqiang, who will retire as premier after serving two five-year terms. However, Li’s close ties with Xi – Li was Xi’s chief of staff between 2004 and 2007, when the latter was provincial party secretary of Zhejiang province – will empower him to get things done, leadership-watchers said.[2]

Li Qiang will head the State Council, China's Cabinet, and his main task will be overseeing the economy, although the role of premier has been waning as Xi has concentrated power in his own hands over the years.

0. “Who Is Li Qiang? Xi Aide Likely to Step Into Premier Job” Bloomberg, 11 Mar. 2023,

1. “Li Qiang becomes China's premier, tasked with reviving economy” CNBC, 11 Mar. 2023,

2. “Xi ally Li Qiang becomes China's new premier” Axios, 11 Mar. 2023,

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