Li Keqiang, the former Chinese premier who spent almost a decade as No 2 to leader Xi Jinping, has died at the age of 68, state media has reported.

Mr Li suffered a sudden heart attack on Thursday and died in Shanghai on Friday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. 

“Comrade Li Keqiang, while resting in Shanghai in recent days, experienced a sudden heart attack on Oct 26 and after all-out efforts to revive him failed, died in Shanghai at 12.10am on Oct 27,” CCTV reported.

Mr Li was a key member of the Chinese Communist Party and served as the second-highest ranking member of the party’s politburo between 2012 and 2022.

During that time he was China’s top economic official and played an important role in both the market reforms that have pushed China to the brink of global economic superiority, and the political changes that have helped to consolidate the power of the Xi regime.

Reformer pushed out by Xi

Mr Li was praised for helping to steer the country through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed but his attempts at financial reforms were curtailed by Mr Xi’s overwhelming authority.

He was widely seen to have been sidelined by Mr Xi and pushed out of the role in 2022.

Adam Ni, an independent China political analyst and author, was quoted by Reuters as describing Mr Li as “a premier who stood powerless as China took a sharp turn away from reform and opening”.

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