China: President Xi Jinping's confidant Li Qiang appointed new premier
China's parliament has formally elected President Xi Jinping's confidant and close ally, Li Qiang, as the country's new premier. Nominated by Xi, the 63-year-old former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief of Shanghai has replaced the outgoing premier, Li Keqiang, to lead the government. Qiang gained almost every vote from nearly 3,000 members of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's rubber-stamp parliament, on Saturday.
Qiang now second-highest-ranking government official in China
Qiang, who has now become the second-highest-ranking Chinese government official, was Xi's de facto chief of staff in the early-2000s when Xi was party chief of Zhejiang province. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Qiang oversaw Shanghai's lockdown policies, which led to some residents struggling for basic amenities, reported BBC. Meanwhile, Xi was elected as the president of China for an unprecedented third term on Friday.