Li Keqiang granted meeting with Queen Elizabeth during British visit | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 25, 2015
  • Updated: 8:28am

Li Keqiang

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. 

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DIPLOMACY

Li Keqiang granted meeting with Queen Elizabeth during British visit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 11:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:41am

Premier Li Keqiang will meet Queen Elizabeth when he visits Britain next week, an unusual meeting that observers say shows how aware China has become of its world status.

Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Chao announced the royal meeting in Beijing yesterday. An earlier report in The Times of London said the trip would be in jeopardy unless the royal meeting was on the agenda.

Analysts declined to speculate on the report, noting some other non-heads of state had also met the queen. But they agreed the encounter suggested a significant agreement between the two countries.

"Such an audience is politically significant and the confirmation of the meeting suggests an important political agreement between the two nations," said Tian Dewen , a researcher in European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese politics and director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, said: "It just shows how aware China is now of its status and prestige, so that it can demand the protocol treatment it desires."

But Brown said the Chinese must be aware of the queen's limited political influence.

"Hopefully the UK has used the Chinese love of status-enhancement gestures like this to get some much more meaningful concessions in return," he said.

Li is expected to discuss financial matters, including London's role as a yuan trading centre, during his visit, which begins on Monday. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister David Cameron the next day at 10 Downing Street.

Talks with Cameron would cover trade, investment, energy and cultural exchanges, Wang said.

 

UNIVERSITY ROW

Wen Ruchun , daughter of ex-premier Wen Jiabao , has been accused by The Daily Telegraph in Britain of using her influence to obtain a professorship at Cambridge University via the Chung Hua Foundation, a charity. The report quoted Vivien Wang, founder of the EtonKids kindergarten chain, as providing information about the link between Wen Ruchun and the charity. Wang said yesterday she had never spoken to the newspaper. "At no time did I say any of the quotes attributed to me, or anything remotely similar," she said.

 

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