Li Peng

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Li Peng (born 20 October 1928) was the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China, between 1987 and 1998, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003. For much of the 1990s Li was ranked second in the Communist Party of China (CPC) hierarchy behind then General Secretary Jiang Zemin. He retained his seat on the Politburo Standing Committee until 2002.

As Premier, Li was the most visible representative of China's government who backed the use of force to quell the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Li also advocated for a largely conservative approach with Chinese economic reform, which placed him at odds with former Premier Zhao Ziyang, who fell out of favour after 1989.[1] As Premier, Li oversaw a rapidly growing economy, and attempted to decentralize and downsize the Chinese bureaucracy, to varying degrees of success.[2] He was also at the helm of the controversial Three Gorges Dam project.

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Personal background

Li was born in Shanghai, but with ancestral roots in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. [3] He is the son of writer Li Shuoxun, one of the earliest CPC revolutionaries.[4] Li was orphaned at age three when his father was executed by the Kuomintang for treason and for support of armed splittism. He became the adopted son of Zhou Enlai, famed in China as the strong supporter and disciple of Mao Zedong.[5] As a seventeen year old in 1945, Li joined the Communist Party of China.[6]

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