Nov 15 2012

 

 

 

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For the first time since Madame Mao, the notorious wife of Mao Zedong, China will have a visible and well known First Lady. She is the wife of China's new President Xi Jinping and she is famous in her own right. Peng Liyuan is a famous singer of traditional Chinese and Party folk tunes. Britian's Independent newspaper writes:

Known to hundreds of millions of Chinese for her career as a singer of stirring folk tunes, Peng Liyuan's fame has long eclipsed that of her husband, China's next president, Xi Jinping – which may be one reason the pop star has been keeping a low profile.

Ms Peng, 49, a civilian member of the army's musical troupe and charity worker, is not China's typical first lady, as anyone who has seen her sing during the annual Chinese New Year special on state television can attest. This is one of the world's most-watched TV programmes.

"If this were the West, one would say [Ms Peng] has the perfect requirements for being a leader's wife: beauty, stage presence, public approval," one party intellectual told The Washington Post. "But things are different in China."

While a Western spin doctor might be chomping at the bit to get Ms Peng on to the world stage, her fame presents the leadership with the challenge of how to marshal her skills and fame, without allowing her to gain more public influence than is comfortable for China's political elite.

Here is a video of her singing and she enters at about the one minute mark.