Li Lanqing emerges as political force
The new Standing Committee of the Politburo has confirmed the growing status of Li Lanqing in mainland politics.
Since his appointment as Vice-Premier in 1993, Mr Li has been recognised for his efforts in reforming education and foreign trade.
His steady and tolerant style has made him popular among the leadership and the public.
Mr Li, from Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, joined the Communist Party after graduating from Shanghai's Fudan University.
He was assigned to the planning department of the Number One Automobile Factory in Changchun and later became secretary to the factory manager.
Mr Li began to attract public attention in 1987 as Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.
He showed his ability in handling a crisis when students from the University of International Business and Economics marched to the ministry after the killing of a student by a street gang.
His cool thinking won him high praise from the leadership and demonstrated his special skill in tackling difficult issues.
In 1991, Mr Li became Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.
As one of the nation's third generation of leaders, Mr Li is playing an important role in ensuring a smooth transition to the fourth generation.
Through his admission to the Politburo's Standing Committee, his leading position in the State Council may be further strengthened in the long term.