Chinese Premier Li Keqiang faces trouble over vaccine scandal

Power struggle brewing ahead of Beidaihe meeting: reports

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China's Premier Li Keqiang (right) with President Xi Jinping.

China's Premier Li Keqiang (right) with President Xi Jinping. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) might see his power curtailed by President Xi Jinping (習近平) due to the scandal over vaccines, reports said Tuesday.

Public anger in China has been widespread after it was revealed that Changsheng Biotechnology Co., Ltd. sold ineffective vaccines, forged information, and fabricated production and inspection records about a rabies vaccine for infants.

The scandal has shaken public confidence in China’s pharmaceutical industry and in vaccines in general, threatening to turn into more dangerous dissatisfaction with government.

The problems also fueled the recurrence of long-standing reports about less-than-amicable relations between Xi and Li, with the former having won a reported power struggle.

The premier and some former leaders have reportedly objected to the personality cult growing up around Xi, and at his attempts to concentrate more power in his hands, by measures such as the abolition of term limits.

The Chinese leader’s handling of the trade war with the United States is also likely to come in for criticism at regular secretive leadership meetings planned for August in the seaside resort of Beidaihe, reports said.