The Washington PostThe Washington Post

China's new premier, a Xi loyalist, is caught between business and politics

By Christian Shepherd and Lyric Li

10 Mar 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Li Qiang's close ties with President Xi Jinping may have helped him secure the role of premier, but questions remain about how much influence he will have in shaping policy. The Post reports.

When he was the Chinese Communist Party boss in Shanghai, Li Qiang climbed into the driver seat of a Tesla Model 3 beside Elon Musk, who drew a smiley face on car's display screen to match Li's wide grin.

The moment, in 2018, was important for both men. Tesla had just become China's first wholly foreign-owned automaker, giving Musk a critical foothold in the world's largest car market.

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