HONG KONG (AP) — Sudden death of former China’s second-largest leader Li Keqiang The incident has shocked many in the country, who have paid tribute to former officials who were politically sidelined while promising pro-market reforms.
Li, who died of a heart attack on Friday, served as China’s top economic official for a decade, steering the world’s second-largest economy through challenges including tensions with the United States and the coronavirus pandemic. contributed to.
He was known as a champion of private enterprise, but his influence has grown as President Xi Jinping has amassed more and more power and strengthened the military and security to support the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” I lost a lot.
A hashtag related to his death on Chinese social media platform Weibo garnered more than 1 billion views in just a few hours. On posts about Li, the “like” button changed to a daisy, a flower common at Chinese funerals, and many users commented, “Rest in peace.” Others called his death a loss, saying Li worked hard and made great contributions to China.
However, the Chinese government did not immediately say anything about Li. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning asked reporters to refer to information from state news agency Xinhua and a forthcoming obituary.
“We deeply mourn the tragic death of Comrade Li Keqiang due to a sudden heart attack,” she said.
Beijing resident Xia Fan, 20, said she was saddened by Li’s death, calling him “a truly conscientious and responsible prime minister.” When she first heard the news, she said, her mind went blank.
“He really helped our generation grow up. That’s how I feel in my heart,” she said.
Designer Chen Hui said Li had made a great contribution. “If I’m going to tell you this, it’s impossible to finish it in one day. It’s a shame,” he said.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed condolences over Lee’s death.
US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns also expressed his condolences to Li’s family, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people in both English and Chinese on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Japanese Embassy in China expressed its condolences on Weibo. According to the paper, Li visited Japan in 2018 and played an important role in the relationship between the two countries.
Mr. Lee is an English-speaking economist who comes from a generation of politicians who were educated in an era when Western liberal thinking became more tolerant. He entered the political world during the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, and entered the prestigious Peking University on his own merits rather than through political connections, where he studied law and economics.
About 10 years ago, former Communist Party leader Hu Jintao was seen as Li’s preferred successor as president. However, due to the need for partisan balance, the leadership selected Mr. Xi, a former vice prime minister and the son of a party elder statesman, as the consensus candidate.
Although Mr. Li and Mr. Xi never openly disagreed on the fundamentals, they did not share the kind of partnership that characterized the relationship between President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, or Mao Zedong and the fearsome Zhou Enlai. I had never built anything like it.
Last October, Lee was removed from the standing committee at a party congress despite being more than two years below the unofficial retirement age of 70. Mr. Li resigned in March and was replaced by Mr. Li Qiang, a close ally of Mr. Xi since his time in the provincial government. . His resignation marked a shift from the veteran engineers who have been at the helm of China’s economy to officials known primarily for their unquestioned loyalty to Mr. Xi.
Associated Press writer Simina Mistreanu in Beijing contributed to this report.