Former vice premier Wu Yi is not a fan of Bo Xilai.
When former vice premier Wu Yi, at one time the second most powerful woman in the world, resigned in 2007, she famously said that she was looking forward to a “naked retirement” (裸退), and that she hoped people would “completely forget” about her. Now it has emerged that the “Iron Lady of China” did in fact attach ONE condition to her retirement, according to several senior Communist Party officials that spoke to Asahi Shimbun.
“The condition was to not name Bo Xilai, who was commerce minister at the time, as her successor as vice premier,” one of those officials told the paper.
During Bo’s tenure as the Minister of Commerce, a position once held by Wu Yi, he frequently found excuses to replace her trusted aides who were still working at the ministry. Bo was at that time reporting directly to the then vice-PM.
Another theory is that Wu never forgave Bo for upstaging her on a visit to the United States. Bo was part of Wu’s accompanying group, but rather than remain in the background, he took center stage, leading to media reports that the negotiations went smoothly only because of Bo’s wit.
Other high-ranking Communist Party officials cited political reasons for why Wu despised Bo.
When Wu was deputy mayor of Beijing, the mayor at the time looked favorably upon her.
However, when the Beijing mayor was later ousted over corruption allegations, speculation arose that Bo Yibo, Bo’s father who once served as vice premier, had pulled some strings behind the scenes.
Those who subscribe to this theory feel that Wu’s anger over the downfall of a former superior led to her disdain for Bo Xilai.
The picture that has emerged from Asahi Shimbun would appear to be confirmed by the political website Duowei News.
Rumours of the bad blood between Wu and Bo had emerged as early as five years ago, according to the US-based site.
This was one of the reasons why Bo Xilai was eventually “banished” to the far-flung city of Chongqing, says veteran investigative reporter Jiang Weiping, who spent six years in prison for reports on the alleged corruption of Bo Xilai and now lives in Toronto.
According to the political grapevine, Wu saw Bo as an overly ambitious and highly uncooperative individual who was unhappy to play second fiddle to anyone.
Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, is on trial today in Hefei, Anhui province, for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Observers widely expect the once-successful lawyer to take the fall for her husband but that she would be spared the death sentence.