Former Chinese premier Li Keqiang, who was once considered a potential future leader, has passed away at the age of 68. He suffered a heart attack and died in Shanghai. Li was known as a reform-minded bureaucrat and had been seen as a more modern Communist Party loyalist compared to his colleagues. He supported economic reforms and played a role in strengthening ties between China and Pakistan. Li’s career included serving as the ruling party’s top official in Henan and Liaoning provinces, but his reputation was marred by his handling of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in Henan. He later became a deputy to then-premier Wen Jiabao. Li’s time as premier saw a shift in power in China to President Xi Jinping, who curtailed Li’s attempts at tackling economic challenges. China’s economy began to slow during Li’s tenure, but he was still admired for his understanding of the economy and commitment to China’s development. Li’s departure from office coincided with China’s lowest growth in decades due to the impact of COVID-19 and a housing crisis. In his final speech, Li expressed confidence in China’s economy and its potential for further growth.
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