Wu Yi

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For the Shang Dynasty king, see Wu Yi of Shang.
Wu Yi
吴仪
Colin Powell Wu Yi.jpg
Wu Yi with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
Acting
In office
2 June 2007 – 17 March 2008
Premier Wen Jiabao
Preceded by Huang Ju
Succeeded by Li Keqiang
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
15 March 2003 – 2 June 2007
Serving with Zeng Peiyan
Hui Liangyu
Premier Wen Jiabao
Preceded by Qian Qichen
Wu Bangguo
Wen Jiabao
Succeeded by Zeng Peiyan
Hui Liangyu
Personal details
Born November 1938 (age 75–76)
Wuhan, Republic of China
Political party Communist Party
Alma mater China University of Petroleum
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wu.
Wu Yi
Traditional Chinese 吳儀
Simplified Chinese 吴仪

Wu Yi (born November 1938 in Wuhan, Hubei, China) was one of four Vice Premiers of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, overseeing the country's economy until March 2008. Known as the "iron lady", Wu is one of the toughest negotiators in China's government.

Biography[edit]

In April 1962, she joined the Communist Party of China. In August of the same year, she graduated from the Petroleum Refinery department at the Beijing Petroleum Institute, with a degree in petroleum engineering. She spent much of her career as a petroleum technician, eventually becoming deputy manager at the Beijing Dongfang Hong refinery, and assistant manager and party secretary at the Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical Corporation.

She was elected deputy mayor of Beijing in 1988, and held that office until 1991. Following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, she persuaded coal workers threatening to go on strike to continue working after some of their colleagues had been killed. From 1991 until 1998, she held successively the posts of Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, and member of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. A protégé of Zhu Rongji, she became a state councillor in 1998, and was appointed Vice Premier of the State Council in March 2003. She was the first woman to hold the position since economic and political reforms in 1978, and the most powerful woman in Chinese politics since Jiang Qing. She helped negotiate the PRC's entry into the World Trade Organization and reorganised the customs service after U.S. complaints over the widespread violation of intellectual property rights.

During the SARS crisis, she replaced Zhang Wenkang, who had been fired for his coverup of the crisis, as health minister and headed a committee to solve the crisis. She was called the "Goddess of Transparency" by Time magazine for her leadership during the SARS crisis and named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2004. In the middle of the SARS endemic, Wu fiercely snubbed the advocation for Republic of China's WHO participation during the WHO general assembly. One video clip aired widely in Taiwan showed Wu rebuffing the question of Taiwan's representation during an interview by a Taiwanese reporter. After the assembly, a Taiwanese reporter asked the Chinese delegation if they knew what the needs were of the 23 million citizens of Taiwan. Surprisingly, an official beside Wu Yi replied, "Who cares about you people!" to the Taiwanese reporter.

Called by Chinese media as the "Iron Lady of China", Wu is regarded as a firm and direct woman who, unlike her colleagues, has not dyed her graying hair black. Since becoming Vice Premier, Wu has been an able diplomat in signing agreements with neighboring Asian countries. She also makes frequent inspection visits to many southern Chinese regions. Since the death of Huang Ju, the senior Vice Premier, Wu has taken on the portfolio of overseeing financial work.

Vice Premier Wu announced at the end of 2007 that she would retire in March 2008. During the last few months of her tenure she was involved in negotiations with U.S. toy giant Mattel over toy lead content that brought significant woe to the reputation of Chinese products. At a meeting held with Chinese business leaders in early 2008 Wu revealed that her personal salary totaled RMB 120,000, or 17,582.40 U.S. dollars per year,[citation needed] and told the business leaders that they should only "take money from the right places".

Trivia[edit]

Forbes magazine considered her the second most powerful woman in the world in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and the third most powerful in 2006.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Li Lanqing
Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation
1993–1998
Succeeded by
Shi Guangsheng
Preceded by
Qian Qichen
Wu Bangguo
Wen Jiabao
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
2003–2007
Served alongside: Zeng Peiyan
Hui Liangyu
Succeeded by
Zeng Peiyan
Hui Liangyu
Preceded by
Zhang Wenkang
Minister of Health
2003–2005
Succeeded by
Gao Qiang
Preceded by
Huang Ju
First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
Acting

2007–2008
Succeeded by
Li Keqiang