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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gets second term, but Xi Jinping strips him of major duties

China’s parliament gave Premier Li Keqiang a second five-year term, but he faces a tenure deeper in the shadow of the country’s powerful leader Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Premier Li Keqiang after Li was re-elected as Premier during a plenary meeting of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 18, 2018.(AP Photo)
Updated on Mar 18, 2018 10:24 AM IST
Associated Press, Beijing | ByAssociated Press

China’s ceremonial legislature appointed Premier Li Keqiang, the No. 2 leader of the ruling Communist Party, to a second five-year term Sunday and approved the appointment of a director for a new anti-corruption agency with sweeping powers.

National People’s Congress delegates voted 2,964 to 2 to approve Li’s appointment. That comes a day after party leader Xi Jinping was reappointed China’s president with no limits on how many terms he can serve.

The premier traditionally is China’s top economic official but Xi, the country’s most dominant leader since Mao Zedong, has stripped Li of many of the post’s most prominent duties by appointing himself to lead party bodies that oversee economic reform and state industry.

The legislature also approved the appointment of Yang Xiaodu as director for the National Supervisory Commission, created from a merger of the party’s internal anti-graft watchdog with one that oversees civil servants. It will have the power to detain suspects for up to six months without seeking court approval.

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Political analysts see the creation of the anti-graft agency as part of efforts to enforce party control over an increasingly complex society and government.

A marathon anti-corruption campaign led by Xi has snared thousands of government officials and managers of state companies.

Xi has been steadily tightening central control over the government and state industry while also stepping up efforts to crush dissent.

Also Saturday, a key Xi ally, Wang Qishan, was appointed to the previously ceremonial post of vice president.

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