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China’s New Premier Steps Into Role Stripped of Its Former Power

  • Li Qiang set to be installed in government’s No. 2 on Saturday
  • Ex-Shanghai chief takes post diminished in stature, authority
Bloomberg business news
Chinese President Xi Orders Biggest Regulatory Revamp in Decades

For decades, China’s premiers were towering figures in Beijing. It was Zhou Enlai who toasted then-President Richard Nixon on his historic trip to the communist-led country while Zhu Rongji was the undisputed spokesman for economic reform in the late-1990s. 

When Li Qiang, 63, finally ascends to the premier’s job Saturday, he’ll inherit a position greatly diminished in both political stature and direct authority. Perhaps no other office has lost as much under President Xi Jinping’s efforts to consolidate power than the premier, which officially leads China’s cabinet, the State Council.