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"Putting People First"

   - Li Keqiang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee

August 8, 2003: Li Keqiang talks with residents of Mazhuang Village in Qiaobei Township, Yuanyang County during his inspection of Xinxiang City, Henan Province. by Guo Yu/Xinhua

From a village's Party branch to prestigious Peking University to the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC), and from agricultural titan Henan Province to the leading industrial heavyweight Liaoning Province, which has been called the "eldest son of the People's Republic," to the highest leading body of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Li Keqiang has continued improving his overall planning ability and decision-making capacity through his rich accumulation of political experience. Confident, smart and eloquent in public, Li is frank, amiable, resolute and dedicated to his work, according to his acquaintances.

After 10 years at Peking University, Li left with a bachelor's degree in law and master's and doctorate degrees in economics. The experience has not only nourished his strong affection for his homeland, but also helped him develop profound cultural insights and a broad international perspective. Likely due to his early experience governing at the grassroots level, Li has continuously stayed down-to-earth and has held fast to the principle of putting people first.

On November 15, 2012, Li was re-elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the First Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in Beijing. Six days later, he vowed further reform at a conference on advancing comprehensive reform, where he remarked, "Only reform and opening-up can improve Chinese people's living standards," "Reform is the biggest dividend for China," "Future reform must ensure equal rights and opportunities for the people and ensure that everybody adheres to the rules," "Reform should be advanced within legal framework," "Reform is like rowing upstream. Failing to advance means falling back," and "It's our historical responsibility to move forward and try more. Those who refuse to reform may not make mistakes, but they will be blamed for not assuming their historical responsibility."

When presiding over meetings, Li forbids the reading of prepared speeches, and encourages participants to speak freely while he asks incisive and persistent questions to cut straight to the heart of each matter. Such a practical working style which places focus on solving problems adds both pressure and excitement to his meetings. In a meeting about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, he encouraged representatives from nongovernmental organizations to share more information, even though this delayed appointments with other officials.

All these evidences reflect Li's determination to reform, his decisiveness and practicality, and his great care for the people – all of which he has maintained continuously during his journey from local to central leadership.