At this point in As Chongqing Turns, Guagua has vanished, but intrepid journalists have reported that his famously low key older half-brother, Li Wangzhi (李望知 Brandon Li) is in business with a Japanese chain selling high quality black angus steaks. More to the gossipy point of our story, Li Wangzhi gave his investment company a snarky classical name and his mother, Bo Xilai’s first wife, Li Danyu is throwing operatic slurs!
Flashback: In the rough and tumble years of the Cultural Revolution, the Bo family was out in the political cold with the rest of the 8 elders. Nevertheless, their children were intermarrying, consolidating alliances, and falling in and out of bad romance.
In 1976, Bo Xilai married Li Danyu (李丹宇), the princess daughter of the high-ranking cadre, Li Xuefeng (李雪峰), who in 1960 became the first political commissar of the Beijing Military Region and subsequently took control of the Beijing party organization after the purge of Peng Zhen in 1966. His political star fell when he supported Chen Boda during the 1971 Lushan Conference named him a Lin Biao supporter. In 1976, when his daughter married Bo Xilai, Li Xuefeng still faced another 3 years of internal exile in Anhui province and would not be rehabilitated until 1982.
Bo Xilai was working as a manual laborer at the Bejing Number 5 Machine Repair Factory when he and Li Danyu married and had a son, Bo Wangzhi. In 1978, the college entrance exam system was re-instated and Bo Xilai was admitted to the Law Department of Beijing University where he met Gu Kailai. Princeling preferences for marrying within red circles being what they were, there were no degrees of separation between the young lovers — Li Danyu’s older brother was married to Gu Kailai’s third older sister, making Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai in-laws by marriage.
Even as Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai’s romance escalated, Li Danyu publicly accused her husband of being Chen Shimei (陈世美), the infamous adulterer from the eponymous Beijing opera. Li Danyu also tried to have Gu Kailai convicted on the “Destroying a Military Marriage” law. Nevertheless, Bo and Gu persevered and were married in 1984, when (it is said), the scorned ex-wife’s father was instrumental in having the couple run out of Beijing to Jin County, Dalian, where Bo Xilai’s political career began a Vice Secretary. Indeed, until 2003 when Li Xuefeng died and his influence over the Beijing political apparatus finally ended, Bo Xilai was unable to find a political position in the capital.
After her divorce from Bo Xilai, Li Danyu had their son change his surname from Bo to Li. Over the years, Li Danyu made sure that everyone knew of Bo and Gu’s lack of virtue, making sure that the story followed Bo wherever he was assigned.
Flash forward: Li Wangzhi grew up, graduated from Beijing University’s School of Law in 1996 and went on for a Master’s in Finance from Columbia in 2001. On returning to Beijing, Li Wangzhi set up a company called Chong’er Investment Consulting Ltd (重耳投资咨询有限公司). Inquiring minds want to know — what’s the story?
During the Spring and Autumn period, Chong’er (重耳) was the given name of Duke Jin Wen, son of Duke Jin Xian. Duke Jin Xian’s concubine, Li Pei had a child, Chong’er’s younger half-brother, Xi Qi. In order to secure Xi Qi’s future, Li Pei hatched a plot to kill Chong’er, who fled for his life. But in a what goes around comes around moment, Li Pei and Xi Qi died in court infighting and Chong’er triumphantly returned to take power.
Today, as Guagua hides and his parents remain hidden, Li Wangzhi moves forward (under the pseudonym Li Xiaobai) with his beef export business, which supplies Japanese steak aficionados with tasty, massaged Snow Dragon black angus steaks at $US 600 a kilo from ranches in — yes, its true — Dalian (雪龙黑牛股份公司).