Magazine article Newsweek International

China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan

Magazine article Newsweek International

China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan

Article excerpt

Byline: Melinda Liu

A glamorous spouse shrinks from the limelight.

For proof of how weird political culture can be in China when compared with the West, consider this: in the aftermath of the country's once-in-a-decade political transition, government censors blocked the name of China's first-lady-to-be, Peng Liyuan, from Twitter-like microblogs. Ditto for references to her husband, Xi Jinping, the country's new Communist Party chief, as well as the search terms "Lady Peng," "Her Majesty the Empress," and, for good measure, "First Lady."

No matter. Peng is already wildly popular, having cemented her reputation as China's leading folk singer. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been mesmerized by Peng's chiseled cheekbones, big hair, and dazzling outfits, which have ranged from Tibetan yak-wool robes to crisp military uniforms. Her status as a star--and her husband's role in politics--has even led to comparisons between her and France's glamorous former first lady, the singer and model Carla Bruni. But Chinese who know Peng--and their country's politics--say the analogy is flawed. For starters, Peng, 49, virtually disappeared from TV shortly after hubby was tapped as China's heir apparent in 2007. She's kept a low-profile ever since, working mainly as an ambassador for China's AIDS-prevention drive. Last February, just before Xi visited the U.S., Chinese authorities banned DVDs of some of Peng's more flamboyant performances from stores in Beijing. "Political sensitivities," explained one vendor. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.