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.
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.