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China’s former premier dies of ‘sudden heart attack’

Li Keqiang passed away on Friday at the age of 68, according to state media

Former Chinese premier Li Keqiang has died at the age of 68, according to China’s state media. The ex-official served a lengthy career in the ruling Communist Party, including a decade as the country’s second ranked leader after General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Li passed away in Shanghai early on Friday morning following a “sudden heart attack” the night prior, Xinhua reported.

“Comrade Li Keqiang, while resting in Shanghai in recent days, experienced a sudden heart attack on October 26 and after all-out efforts to revive him failed, died in Shanghai at ten minutes past midnight on October 27,” state broadcaster CCTV said.

Serving as China’s number-two official between 2013 and March of this year, Li’s two-term premiership was largely focused on economic policy and foreign investment. He was a trained economist and a graduate of Peking University.

After rising through the lower ranks of the Communist Party, Li was appointed vice premier in 2008, and promoted again five years later. His tenure as premier included several diplomatic efforts, including visits to both India and Pakistan.

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China doubles down on Taiwan reunification

Li was replaced as premier by Li Qiang earlier this year. During his last official appearance at China’s National People’s Congress in March, he warned against separatist inclinations and foreign meddling in Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be under its sovereignty.

“All of us, Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, should come together to advance the great and glorious cause of China’s rejuvenation,” he said, adding “We should promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and advance the process of China’s peaceful reunification.”


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