UAE leaders offer condolences to Chinese President on death of former premier

Li Keqiang died of a heart attack barely seven months after retiring from a decade in office

By WAM, Reuters

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Published: Sat 28 Oct 2023, 1:26 PM

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has sent a message of condolences to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the death of former premier Li Keqiang.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, also dispatched similar messages to the Chinese president.

China's former premier Li died of a heart attack on Friday, barely seven months after retiring from a decade in office. He was 68.

"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 ten minutes past midnight on Oct. 27," state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The elite economist Li had supported a more open market economy, advocating supply-side reforms in an approach dubbed "Likonomics" that was never fully implemented.

An official obituary published by state media Xinhua on Friday called his death a "huge loss to the party and nation", describing him as an "outstanding leader".

"We must turn our grief into strength, learn from his revolutionary spirit, noble character and fine style," Xinhua said.

The obituary listed his policy achievements and said four times that Li carried out his work under the "strong leadership" of Xi.

There was an outpouring of grief and shock on Chinese social media, with some government websites going black-and-white in an official sign of mourning. The Weibo microblogging platform turned its "like" button into a "mourn" icon in the shape of a chrysanthemum on its mobile app.

"He's only 68. He probably hasn't enjoyed his life yet, right? He's been busy all the time taking care of the country’s important responsibilities," said a 74-year-old Shanghai retiree surnamed Xu. "We're all very sad."

Li was premier and head of China's cabinet under Xi for a decade until stepping down from all political positions in March.


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