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Wu Yi's parting words before retirement
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China's only female vice premier, Wu Yi, said yesterday at a business people's conference that she would take complete retirement in March next year.

"I will retire next year after attending the annual National People's Congress session. After that I will not hold a post in any official or semi-official or non-governmental organizations, as indicated in my report to the central government. I hope that you will completely forget about me," said Wu Yi, the 69 female vice premier of China, at a members' conference of the China Chamber of International Commerce held in Beijing on December 24. Her parting words won prolonged applause from all attendants.

Wan Jifei, Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, previously sent his invitation to Wu Yi, hoping that the vice premier would serve as Honorary Chairman of the council after her retirement.

The vice premier, who will leave office after several months, is optimistic, frank and humorous.

At the conference, Wu asked the entrepreneurs to be honest and incorruptible, and she focused their attention toward profound policy studies as well as the investment climate for economic cooperation with foreign countries. Wu also encouraged the entrepreneurs to strive to create more wealth for the country.

In addition, Wu also commented that she was very "modern". She illustrated this by telling the audience that she sometimes sends and receives text messages through her mobile phone.

Forbes Magazine has listed Wu Yi, known as "China's iron lady", three times as one of China's most powerful women. She has long been engaged in foreign trade affairs and she is an experienced international negotiator. Wu has impressed the world by the force of her personality, especially regarding her performance during China's negotiations for accession into the WTO and the national fight against SARS in 2003.

In late November during a dinner party for the American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (AmCham-China) Wu Yi said that she would retire. This was the first time Wu made her plans public. At the closing ceremony of the third Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue in mid-December, United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson bade farewell to Wu Yi, whom he regards not only as a prominent representative of the Chinese people but also as a competitor and an old friend.

( by Yang Xi, December 25, 2007)

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