Mao envelope for Bo Xilai's father sold for 6.55m yuan

An envelope addressed to Bo Yibo and another comrade has been sold for millions at auction, but contents of the letter itself are kept secret

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 12:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 3:52pm

A handwritten envelope by Mao Zedong addressed to Bo Xilai’s father, Bo Yibo, and another Chinese military leader has fetched 6.55 million yuan (HK$8.28 million) at the China Guardian’s Autumn Auctions in Beijing yesterday.

A photo of the envelope uploaded by the China Guardian auction house on its official Sina Weibo account. Photo: SCMP

“To Mr Fu Yisheng and Mr Bo Yibo,” Mao wrote in brush. The envelope was printed, “From the People’s Revolutionary Military Committee of the Central People’s Government”, an agency that existed between 1949 and 1954, preceding what is now China’s Central Military Commission.

The letter within the envelope was not part of the auction yesterday.

Fu Yisheng, also known as Fu Zuoyi, was a Nationalist-converted general who served in the People’s Republic.

Rosaline Cheng, a marketing consultant for China Guardian in Hong Kong, said no further information was available regarding the contents of the letter or the recipients’ roles at the time.

“Under regulations of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, leaders’ letters cannot be auctioned,” she said, “but the envelope could be.”

She said that, based on estimates, the envelope could be from the early days of the People's Republic, established in October 1949.

Cheng declined to give any details of the relic’s buyer.

Both Bo and Fu attended the first Political Consultative Conference and were elected into the Central People’s Government Commission – the highest decision-making body.

The commission had 63 members up until 1954, when the first constitution was promulgated, changing the structure of the state.

Bo, who joined the Communist Party at the age of 17 and fought both the Nationalists and the Japanese, served as the Minister of Finance between 1949 and 1953.

As chairman of the State Planning Commission, he promoted moderate economic policies. Bo was purged in 1966 by the Mao-backed Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution.

He was returned to power by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death, before becoming one of the “Eight Elders” which held substantial power during the 1980s and 1990s.

His son, Bo Xilai, rose through the ranks, taking up such positions such as commerce minister and party boss of Chonqing  before being formally expelled from the party in November of last year. He was sentenced to life in jail for corruption this past September.