As the media of the world has finally recognized, President Xi Jinping of China has a great partner in his wife of 25 years Peng Liyuan. More than anything else, she has helped President Xi Jinping bring the Chinese into the modern era and to address the many problems facing nations aspiring to be the best in the world.
The country's ancient and historical structures are also renowned around the world. The
Great Wall of China
is considered one of the wonders of the world and attracts tourists from all
over the globe. China
also holds the largest and most famous snow festivals.
Aside from tourist attractions, the country is also famous for its inventions. The Chinese invented gunpowder during the ninth century, and
is the producer of many famous and potent teas. China remains as the largest
exporter and producer of green tea in the world.
Then there is the remarkable rise to power by President Xi Jinping and his success in guiding China into a role as an emerging world superpower and responsible member of the world community. His wife is a powerful companion comfortable in the role she can fulfill for her husband and her country.
Remember, China has a written record back 4,000 years, and then a couple of mystical cultures and civilization dating back 7,000 - 8,000 years ago. That is pretty old.
Chinese philosophy, religion, medicine, herbs, and other attributes have withstood the test of time and once again are gaining worldwide acceptance.
Here she is in a video to help victims of AIDs.
Here are excerpts from a story about the First Lady by The Daily Telegraph in the UK that offers great insight into her rise in China.
The First Lady of Mexico, Angélica Rivera de Peña and the First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan,
visit the children of the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez in
The Daily Telegraph -
's first lady Peng Liyuan: a perfectly
scripted life China
China's new first lady has dazzled the world, but who is the real Peng Liyuan
03 Apr 2013By Malcolm Moore,
After decades of stiff and inscrutable leaders, whose wives have been obediently invisible, China's Communist party has finally revealed a softer side: the gracious and elegant Peng Liyuan.
But while the new first lady was almost unknown in the West until she emerged on Xi Jinping's first presidential tour, in her homeland she has been a superstar for three decades.
Well before she met Mr Xi, Mrs Peng was arguably the most famous singer in
"It is a mission impossible to find someone more appropriate to represent the image of Chinese women than Peng Liyuan," gushed the Southern People Weekly magazine in 2005.
"She has a face like a full moon, shining eyes and white teeth, and she is upright and straightforward, frank and friendly".
Her dazzling appearance in
"I felt very excited when I saw her get off the plane. I think she deserved it after all these years of hard work. I even cried a little bit," said Wen Sui, a singer who shared a dorm with Mrs Peng for five years at the China Conservatory of Music.
Nor is there a biography of Mrs Peng. The Communist party firmly believes that the less the public knows about its leaders, the better, and has spent years carefully deleting information about Mrs Peng and crafting a narrative so exemplary it is, at times, hard to believe.
Born in Peng village in 1962, in the eastern
Mrs Peng's father was a lowly official, a schoolmaster who was put in charge of the
"She spent most of her childhood on the ox cart of the county's playhouse," remembered Wei Zhongping, her father's deputy at the culture bureau.
"I was a born singer," said Mrs Peng on a visit to
By the age of five, she said, she could sing a complete folk song. "As a singer, I have won the highest honours in
What she shares with Mr Xi, however, are memories of the evils of the Cultural Revolution. When she was four, Red guards arrived at her house to denounce her family.
Her mother was called a spy for having relatives in
Both Mrs Peng and Mr Xi saw their fathers imprisoned. Both of them were sent into exile in the countryside. Mrs Peng was denied an education.
But she had a golden gift to fall back on: her voice. She quickly learned to sing patriotic songs and, as a skinny 15-year-old teenager, she beat competition from 10,000 other applicants to land a place at her provincial art school.
From there, her career has progressed upwards in one straight line. First she was picked for the elite performance troupe of the local People's Liberation Army.
Then she attended the Conservatory of Music in
"She was very tough on herself. I used to ask her why she studied so hard," said Wen Sui, her dorm mate and fellow singer. "She would also help out her poorer classmates, buying them food coupons. Her father, who I met, taught her a lot. He used to tell her: 'I do not care how famous you are, or how much money you have, you have to be a good person above all'.
"I said to him he did not need to keep ramming it in because she was already a good person, but he said when you get high and comfortable in life, you can forget these lessons."
Each month in
When she graduated, she was headhunted by the most prestigious arts company of all, the General Political Department of the PLA, which essentially laid the path for her to become
Here is another beautiful performance by the First Lady.
Indeed, her career is utterly blemish-free. She had no boyfriends until she met Mr Xi. She never took money for sponsorship or advertisements. The only deception on record is that she wears five-inch platform shoes underneath her costumes on stage to seem taller.
The only critic who has ever given her a negative review, Jiang Li, said she had sought him out after he wrote that the constant and effusive stream of floral tributes to her on stage as she sang was a distraction.
"She was a little angry when she spoke to me at first. She asked what was wrong with people applauding her and giving her flowers. So then she arranged for me to come and meet her. Her brother picked me up and drove me to her teacher's house, where she was cooking dinner," he remembered.
"We became friends. She is an outstanding singer. The difference between her and others is that she does not have any pretension to her singing, or artificiality or techniques. And she does not compromise for the audience or the market."
"I used to see her walking on the street sometimes, even after she got married to her husband. He could easily have arranged a car for her, but she always took the bus and carried her own shopping," he added.
Her place at the top table of the Chinese establishment was cemented in 1985 when she spent 20 days on the front line entertaining troops as they fought a border conflict with
The following year she was accepted into the Communist party and made her first appearance on the flagship Spring Festival gala show.
Her Prince and the Showgirl relationship with Mr Xi was also carefully scripted, the work of a meticulous, but unknown, matchmaker. The marriage of a famous army singer was of course a highly political matter.
They were introduced in
Mr Xi was rising fast in the Party, and had an impeccable background, but was scandalously a divorcee. He had married the daughter of
In the end, the courtship was brief. On September 1, 1987, a few colleagues were invited to the Red Lady French restaurant in the five-star Yeohwa hotel in
For years, their union was a secret from all but a handful of top Party officials. But Mrs Peng later revealed she had eaten so many snails that night she had made herself ill.
Four days later, she went on a singing tour with the PLA, and the couple lived largely separate lives for two decades. Mr Xi was in the south of
It is not uncommon in
"I have never done anything for her work and life, and I am not able to do anything. Therefore how could I demand her to do this or that? If everything is fine with her, I am happy," said a surprisingly tolerant Mr Xi, in 2007, to the Youth Express newspaper.
Mrs Peng battled through severe morning sickness and dehydration to perform on the Chinese Spring Festival Gala, perhaps the most watched television show on earth.
"In a way, she was Kate Middleton before Kate Middleton was Kate Middleton," wrote Martin Macmillan in his biography of the couple Together They Hold Up the Sky.
Mr Xi, meanwhile, missed the birth of their daughter, Mingze, because he was busy fighting floods.
For some, the script was too perfect. A cable from the US Consulate in
There were enough rumours that Mr Xi was having an affair that the Chinese media issued articles stressing the couple's enduring love and that their "feelings for each other stabilised" after Mingze's birth. Those articles, of course, raised more questions than they answered.
For her part, Mrs Peng described her husband as a "safe harbour" that she longed to return to, and told folksy tales about carrying a special quilt for him all around
When asked about her hobbies, she said she liked being at home, sitting on the sofa, watching television with her husband and cooking. Mr Xi likes watching football and playing the Chinese game Go.
"She can relate to people, but what is unique here in
In 2007, as Mr Xi was anointed as
Ruby Yang, a film director who shot a series of public service advertisements with Mrs Peng remembered how, stranded in tiny Aids-ridden village in
But while Mrs Peng's emergence on the world stage has been greeted with delight in
While the Chinese media has been giddily comparing Mrs Peng to Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni this week, the censors have been wiping her name from the internet. Copies of her clothes that were selling on Taobao, an online marketplace, have been removed.
While her glamour may counterbalance her husband's often gruff appearance, and lend him plenty of popular support, there is a fear that a curious public may question why her official biography is so neat and tidy.
"After this trip, the Party will analyse how best to use her going forward, and how to make sure she does not outshine her husband," said Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of International Relations at Renmin university. "She is probably more influential than Michelle Obama since she will be around for ten years and was famous before her husband came into office," he added.
For Chinese viewers in particular here is a video of her life story.