Veteran Chinese leader Bo Yibo dies at 98

Beijing, January 16:

Bo Yibo, the last of the “Eight Immortals” who led China through the tumultuous 1970s and ‘80s, has died at 98, a Hong Kong broadcaster with close ties to Beijing reported today.

Bo died yesterday at a Beijing hospital, Phoenix Satellite Television said on its Web site. The report gave no cause of death.

It cited no source, but Phoenix has reported past Chinese political developments ahead of official announcements.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said he could not confirm the report. Employees who answered the phone at the Communist Party Propaganda Department said they had no information.

Bo, the father of China’s commerce minister, was a veteran of the 1949 communist revolution and a former vice premier.

He was the last of the “Eight Immortals,” the group of revolutionary veterans who included supreme leader Deng Xiaoping.