Who are China's next leaders?

On Nov. 15, the new Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party – the group that rules China presented itself to the world. Here are the bios of the seven men who take the reins of China.

2. Li Keqiang

Lee Jin-man/AP
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang raises his hand to show approval for a work report during the closing ceremony for the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Li Keqiang, who has been a Standing Committee member and vice premier for the past five years, is the best educated leader in modern Chinese history, boasting a PhD in economics and a master's in law from the country’s top seat of learning, Peking University.

He also speaks good English, a rarity among senior Chinese officials, and he came across as “engaging and well informed” to a US diplomat whose report on their conversation was revealed on Wikileaks.

Mr. Li has been in politics since he was a student, becoming head of his university’s Communist Youth League, where he took his early steps toward prominence under the tutelage of Hu Jintao, his most powerful ally.

He moved fast, becoming the country’s youngest provincial governor when he took that job in Henan, where he later became party chief. His tenure there was stained by a major scandal in which thousands of people were diagnosed as being infected with HIV/Aids through improperly administered blood donations, but the matter was largely hushed up at the time and he did not suffer significant political damage. 

Li has sought to cultivate an image as a modern politician, espousing causes such as affordable housing, environmental protection, and renewable energy sources that appeal to younger generations of citizens. 

He has a reputation as a cautious reformer, though he has done nothing to stand out from his colleagues on the current Standing Committee. Liberals hope that he still remembers the lessons he learned at university, where he was assigned with two fellow students to translate into Chinese “The Due Process of Law” by noted British jurist Lord Denning.

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