State Council Development Research Center (DRC) President Li Wei (李伟) retires

By May 29, 2019 June 5th, 2019 Personnel Tracker

On 29 May 2019, State Council DRC President Li Wei retired from his post due to exceed age limit. Li Wei was born in August 1953, who will turn 66 in three months.

Li’s retirement came later than expected—Xi has been retiring most ministerial-ranking officials before they reached their age limit of 65—especially for provincial party secretaries and governors during the transition from 18thto 19thParty Congress—most of these principal provincial officials retired before 65, usually around 63 to 64, in an effort to clear way for Xi’s confidants. One example is former Jiangsu Party Secretary Luo Zhijun (罗志军), who retired from his position one and a half year before reaching age limit, so that Xi can promote his confidant Li Qiang (李强), then-Zhejiang Governor and now Shanghai Party Secretary, to Jiangsu for a brief period as party secretary, prepping his for the Shanghai seat.

Li Wei’s delayed retirement is likely a result of Xi’s favor over confidants of former Premier Zhu Rongji (朱镕基)—Li Wei was Zhu’s chief of staff from 1998 to 2003, during the entire tenure of Zhu as Premier of the State Council. Officials related to Zhu have been favored in recent promotions—another secretary of Zhu, Li Bingjun (李炳军), who worked under Li Wei in 1990s, was promoted to Jiangxi Vice Party Secretary position in May 2018. Born in 1963, Li Bingjun is a contender for full provincial positions in the coming years.