South Asia and Beyond

Premier Li Shunted

When was the last time one heard China’s Premier Li Keqiang do or say something substantial? The answer is probably not in a long time. His role appears to have shrunk to making anodyne statements about UK-China trade cooperation or calling for likely epidemic loopholes in villages to be plugged or chairing meetings seeking opinions on the government’s draft work report and the five year plan. The word is he’s been quietly sidelined by President Xi Jinping, so he has no role in organising and running the powerful civil bureaucracy nor planning and implementing the state budget, which are his constitutional duties. Survival requires him to bow to the president and carry on to the extent he can.