[March 8, 2023](Comprehensive report by Epoch Times reporter Zhang Ting) The National People’s Congress is still in progress.There is little suspense, the number two figure in the CCPLi Qiangwill take overLi Keqiangprime ministership.Li QiangHaving never worked in the central government, it is an exception to directly become the prime minister.Experts believe that althoughXi JinpingHe spent great efforts to promote his confidant Li Qiang, but Li will not tear down walls and build new ones, so there are limited things he can do.
Xi JinpingMake an exception and promote Li Qiang
Li Qiang pushed for reforms to Shanghai’s stock market in 2018. Sources told Reuters that Li Qiang bypassed the China Securities Regulatory Commission through behind-the-scenes channels.
“The China Securities Regulatory Commission is very upset,” said a senior banker close to regulators and Shanghai officials.
The banker added that “Li Qiang’s relationship with Xi Jinping played a role in this matter”, allowing him to propose the plan directly to the central government rather than through the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
The SEC did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
During Li Qiang’s tenure as Shanghai’s party secretary last year, public dissatisfaction and protests arose when he imposed a disastrous two-month lockdown on the city. The blockade shut down Shanghai’s economy and left residents psychologically traumatized. Many were surprised when he was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee at the 20th National Congress.
Not only that, but he has also become the No. 2 figure in the CCP and is expected to succeedLi KeqiangThe position of prime minister, which surprised many people. Because this means that many precedents for the CCP have been broken: Li Qiang has never served as a deputy prime minister, and for decades, the CCP prime minister has been selected from among the vice premiers. Li Qiang also lacks the experience leading an impoverished province, a prerequisite for a top job in the party; he would also become the first prime minister who has never served in the central government.
During Li Keqiang’s tenure as premier, he was increasingly pushed aside by Xi as he tightened his grip on the economy. Reuters quoted Trey McArver, co-founder of research firm Trivium China, as saying that Li Qiang may be more influential than his predecessor.
Roger said Mr. Xi had expended huge political capital to get Li Qiang into the job, given his inexperience in the central government and the taint of the Shanghai blockade.
“Officials know that Li Qiang is Xi Jinping’s man,” he said. “He (Xi) obviously thinks Li Qiang is a very capable person, and he put him in this position because he trusts him and expects a lot from him. high.”
Li Qiang is pro-business but will be constrained by Xi’s limited ability to do things
People who have dealt with Li Qiang told Reuters that they found that Li Qiang supported private enterprise. Zhou Dewen, who represents small and medium-sized enterprises in Wenzhou, said Li Qiang was open-minded and willing to listen when he was party secretary of Wenzhou from 2002 to 2004.
Zhou Dewen said that Li Qiang has adopted a lenient approach, allowing private companies to enter the market by default, except in cases explicitly prohibited by law, instead of the traditional practice of excluding private companies by default.
Li Qiang also oversaw the construction of the Tesla factory in Shanghai.
Still, some observers cautioned not to place too much weight on Mr. Li’s experience in a business hub like Shanghai, as Mr. Xi has steadily tightened the Communist Party’s grip and steered the economy in a more nationalist direction.
Observers of the Communist Party leadership say Li Qiang’s close relationship with Xi is both a strength and a weakness: While he has Xi’s trust, he is also subject to Xi’s constraints, Reuters reported.
Neil Thomas, senior China analyst at Eurasia Group, said: “Now Li Qiang is a national leader working for a market-skeptical boss who has to balance (economic) growth and a range of social, technological and geopolitical issues. strike a balance between goals.”
Observers of the CCP leadership say there are limits to what Li Qiang can do. “Li Qiang can make some repairs here and there, but he won’t tear down walls and build new ones,” said Chen Daoyin, a former associate professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law and now a Chilean-based commentator.
Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, believes that since Xi Jinping controls everything, who is the prime minister under Xi’s leadership is no longer as important as it used to be.
People familiar with the discussions told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Xi and top officials have agreed on plans to give the Chinese Communist Party more direct command in a range of areas they deem critical. These areas include security, finance, technology and culture, while further downplaying the government’s role in policymaking. Parts of the plan are expected to be approved at the National People’s Congress.
Li Qiang has already tried and failed to reform. People familiar with the discussions told Huari that in 2014, when China was preparing for an international Internet conference in Zhejiang, then-governor Li Qiang proposed turning the host city into a test zone and opening up China’s Internet to Western companies. Not blocked by China’s “Great Firewall”.
The idea, which ran counter to official views on the need for greater internet controls, failed over Beijing’s opposition because the issue required sign-offs from multiple government agencies, these people said.
Current affairs commentator Li Linyi told “No matter whether Li Qiang will get more support from Xi, China’s economic policies will only turn leftward, because this is what Xi and the CCP demand. It will be more balanced from time to time, that’s all.”
Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia and director of the Asia Society Policy Institute, published an article on Huari on the eve of the 20th National Congress, also mentioning the issue of the CCP’s economic policy shifting to the left. Mr. Xi, he said, has now become an ideological fundamentalist who has pushed the economy to the Marxist left and China’s foreign and security policy to the nationalist right. Ideology is the main problem. Xi sees the private sector as a long-term challenge to Communist Party power.
Responsible editor: Lin Yan#