Beijing, 2 November, 2023 (GNP): China observed a solemn day of mourning as the nation bid its final farewell to former Premier Li Keqiang. Flags across Tiananmen Square were lowered to half-mast in honor of the 68-year-old leader who tragically passed away due to a sudden heart attack.
Li Keqiang’s cremation ceremony took place at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, a revered resting place for influential government officials and revolutionary heroes. President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, and other members of the Politburo Standing Committee joined Li’s family to pay their respects during this somber occasion.
Prior to the cremation, Li’s body lay in state, draped with the national flag of China and adorned with white flowers, symbolizing mourning in East Asia.
Outside the ceremony, hundreds of people gathered to bid their farewells, mirroring the sentiments expressed in Li’s hometown, Hefei, Anhui Province, where crowds gathered at his childhood home.
The unexpected loss of Li Keqiang prompted heightened security measures, given historical incidents that followed the deaths of prominent political figures. State media remained vigilant to prevent the spread of “overly effusive” comments online.
Born in 1955, Li Keqiang was a prominent economist and a symbol of reform and openness in China. Despite being gradually sidelined during his tenure, his passing ignited a significant outpouring of emotion, marking the most substantial display of grief since last year’s COVID-19 protests.
Li Keqiang’s legacy will be remembered, as he rose from the era of the Cultural Revolution to become an influential technocrat. Although he was once seen as a contender for the presidency, he ultimately lost to President Xi Jinping.
China mourns the loss of a dedicated leader who, in his famous words, believed that “the Yellow River and the Yangtze River won’t flow backward,” signifying his unwavering commitment to China’s ongoing reforms.