From First Lady to First Lady–Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shows U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, how to hold a writing brush

I still remember when I saw a news of princes Kate, I was shocked by the beauty of first lady. In that time, few in or out of China knew the names of previous first ladies, except of our only female emperor Wu Zetian. Anyway, I am very glad that we now have a first lady since last year. Peng Liyuan, China’s first high-profile first lady since the late wife of Mao Zedong. Before her husband’s accession to power, Peng Liyuan was already famous as one of the China’s star singers. She became first lady since her husband Xi Jinping was elected for Chinese President. Peng promotes rural education and campaigns against tuberculosis for the World Health, and as a matter of course, she has raised high expectations from Chinese people.

Similarly, people’s anticipation of American first lady’s visiting is also very high in China. Chinese people are bored by the meeting between presidents,  but this is the first time Michelle Obama, the American first lady could fin her match in China, between past Chinese first ladies and American first ladies, there really hasn’t been much interaction.

First lady can always generate lots of attention, they shouldering the national image, and even reputation. As first ladies go, she has dominated the global stage. Her fashion choices drive retail sales, her causes draw headlines and her popularity at home is high.


Chinese First Lady’s fashion choices are always media’s focus

Peng Liyuan invited Michelle Obama in her own name to visit China. It makes China look like a representative government system. It has a more political flavor. Obama’s decision to accept the invitation could begin to repair lingering disappointment in China over a skipped opportunity to meet Peng last year when she and President Xi flew to California for a meeting with President Obama.

It makes me think of  a character from popular American political TV series house of cards – Claire Underwood, she plays the wife of  leading actor Frank Underwood, who climb from Secretary of State to Vice president, in the shows, she was raising her husband’s image and reputation by carry out public welfare projects.

The word First lady has a long standing history in western countries, but in China,we still standing on the starting line.


Michelle Obama Tours Beijing With China’s First Lady

Peng Liyuan: Folk singer who became China’s first lady

Further Reading:

Michelle Obama’s Visit To China Sparks ‘Fashion Showdown’ With China’s First Lady

Michelle Obama pushes soft diplomacy on visit to China

China claims victory in battle of first ladies