Li Keqiang: Liberal Background, Limited Leeway?

A master of keeping a low profile, China’s newly-nominated premier Li Keqiang is perceived by many as a cautious reformer. Cary Huang at South China Morning Post gives a detailed account of Li’s early years in Peking University where progressive thinking was in vogue:
A member of the first group of students admitted to university after late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the resumption of the university entrance exam in 1977, following the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, Li studied law under Professor Gong Xiangrui , an expert on Western constitutional law who had studied in Britain in the 1930s. Li followed that with a PhD in economics under Li Yining, the mainland’s market reform guru.
[...] Li reportedly plunged into campus politics as reformist ideas galvanised students, befriending freethinkers who went on to become dissidents in exile, and helping to translate The Due Process of Law by famed English jurist Lord Denning.
[...] Former classmate and prominent dissident Wang Jintao [sic], who has lived in exile in the United States since 1994 after being sentenced to 13 years in jail for supporting the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement, said Li was outspoken and quick-witted on campus.
[...] ”On campus, Li Keqiang was a student with an active mind and sharp words,” Wang wrote in a memoir. “He has his own independent thinking and preferences. But he will not challenge authority on major issues. He is also a person who wants to have big personal accomplishments.”
In his discussion with delegates from Shandong Province during the 18th Party Congress, Li made his intention to push through reforms clear. From People’s Daily:
Li Keqiang said on Thursday that China should lose no time in deepening reform in key sectors and resolutely discard all notions and systems that hinder efforts

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One Response to Li Keqiang: Liberal Background, Limited Leeway?

  1. Will says:

    The official-turned-businessman is probably right about how the CCP regime will reform only when events compel it to reform. Until then, the usual combination of one-party authoritarian rule, no independent judiciary, a ban on opposition parties, rampant censorship, no genuine freedoms of speech, assembly, press, or religion………….