Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics.
Premier Li Keqiang named head of three more powerful advisory bodies
Premier Li Keqiang has added three new job caps to his portfolio four months after being put in charge of the world's second-largest economy.
Li was named head of three entities: the Leading Group for Western Region Development of the State Council, the Leading Group for the Revitalisation of Old Industrial Bases in Northeast China of the State Council, and the Leading Group for the National Response to Climate Change and Energy Conservation, mainland media reported.
The appointments were made recently, after Li's ascension to head of government in March. Li will also retain his positions as head of several leading groups in the central government - which he assumed while executive vice-premier, the Beijing Youth Daily reported last week.
"Leading groups" are informal bodies that advise the ruling Communist Party's top decision-making Politburo on policy and oversee how those decisions are implemented. The so-called central leading group often comprises officials from both central party and government organs.
Leading groups with "national" or "State Council" in their titles usually comprise officials from central ministries. Because of the sensitive nature of their work, members are not publicly identified. State media rarely refer to them in reports.
These groups enjoy greater power than the related central ministries and often make important policy decisions. For example, the Central Leading Group on Foreign Affairs makes most of the important diplomatic decisions, while the foreign ministry is left to implement them.
Other top party officials in the supreme Politburo Standing Committee were appointed to head leading groups after the government reshuffles in March.
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was named head of leading groups in charge of ethnic and religious issues in the troubled Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions.
Liu Yunshan, a top party official in charge of the Secretariat, is heading the party's Central Leading Group on the "mass line" educational practice - a Maoist ideological campaign recently initiated by President Xi Jinping .