China faces to watch: Li Keqiang

China is gearing up to change its top leaders, a process that begins at the end of the year. This week, the annual parliamentary session will give those in the running the chance to show off their credentials. The BBC's Michael Bristow profiles key figures.

Of all the people up for promotion later this year, only two are almost certain to feature.

One of those is Xi Jinping, the current vice-president and in line to become the general secretary of the Communist Party. The other is Li Keqiang.

Mr Li is currently a vice-premier and is expected to take over as the country's premier from Wen Jiabao.

In many respects, Mr Li is already a top leader. In 2007, he was promoted to the standing committee of the party's politburo - the body that makes all the top decisions.

He is officially ranked as number seven in the party hierarchy and also has a high profile.

Image caption Mr Li was described as "engaging and well-informed" in a leaked US embassy cable

On a recent visit to Beijing by World Bank President Robert Zoellick, he met Mr Li. Their picture was carried on the front pages of Chinese newspapers.

A cable from the US embassy in Beijing released by Wikileaks describes Mr Li as "engaging and well-informed".

It also revealed his desire to tackle corruption, something that is easier said than done in a party that allows no authority to rival its own.

The 56-year-old has a reputation as a man who cares for the less well-off in society, perhaps a result of his humble upbringing in Anhui province.

It also mirrors the political agenda of his mentor, President Hu Jintao.

The two men are thought to have been close since both were officials in the party's youth league.