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"The Yellow River and Yangtze River will not flow backward," Premier Li Keqiang, right, recently said, in a possible dig at President Xi Jinping's economic policies. (Nikkei montage/Getty Images/Reuters)
China up close

Analysis: In cryptic lingo, Premier Li says rivers only flow forward

Emphasis on reform and opening-up puts brakes on Xi's economic policies

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

Katsuji Nakazawa is a Tokyo-based senior staff and editorial writer at Nikkei. He spent seven years in China as a correspondent and later as China bureau chief. He was the 2014 recipient of the Vaughn-Ueda International Journalist prize.

When Chinese leaders speak of passing the baton to the next generation, or discuss important policy trends, they often use Yellow and Yangtze River analogies.

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