The only other expected holdover from the current Standing Committee, Li Keqiang comes from a less privileged background than Vice President Xi Jinping. He is identified as a leader of the “populist” faction who has evinced interest in social issues such as affordable housing and health care, as well as alternative energy and climate change.
Mr. Li came to prominence as party chief in the rustbelt province of Liaoning, in China’s hardscrabble Northeast, having worked his way up the ranks of the Communist Youth League, the power base of current president Hu Jintao, whose protégé he is.
Li has been a high flyer since he won a place at the prestigious Peking University law school in 1977 when universities re-opened after the Cultural Revolution. Among his friends there were a number of student activists who would later be jailed or exiled for their role in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, but he has kept his nose clean since then.
Unusually for a Chinese leader, Li speaks English.