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Inside China's ruling party Voices from Modern China
Leadership changes



Hu
Jintao

Wu
Bangguo

Wen
Jiabao

Jia
Qinglin

Zeng
Qinghong

Huang
Ju

Wu
Guanzheng

Li
Changchun

Luo
Gan

Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Li Peng
Li Peng
Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Li Ruihuan
Li Ruihuan
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Wei Jianxing
Wei Jianxing
Li Lanqing
Li Lanqing




Li Peng
NPC Chairman

Many people outside China associate Li Peng with the brutal suppression of the student pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

As premier, Mr Li declared martial law in Beijing, and his lack of charisma and hard-line stance made him widely unpopular.

But the incident worked to his advantage. Mr Li remained in high office, possibly because the leadership felt that sacking him would be an admission that suppressing the 1989 protest had been a mistake.

Born in 1928 in Chengdu, Mr Li’s first step into the world of politics came when he was just a boy. He was orphaned at the age of three when his father was executed by the Kuomintang. Li Peng became the adopted son of former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.

After the death of Prime Minister Zhou in 1976, his widow, Deng Yingchao, continued to support Mr Li and promote him in the leadership.

By 1966 he was already Party secretary of the Beijing bureau of power supply. His survival throughout the Cultural Revolution, when thousands of others were purged. was testimony to the unique status he managed to cultivate. He went on to become acting premier in 1987.

Mr Li has been described as a conservative centraliser, intolerant of any challenge to the Party. In 1990 he described student criticism of his political conservatism as sabotage.

On economic matters Mr Li is wary of reform, fearing it could undermine Party control.

Although Mr Li is not expected to retain any formal office, he is likely to continue to wield considerable influence through his protégé Luo Gan – a contender for the new Politburo.

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