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As an adorable folk music singer, she has brought joy and peace with dozens of beloved songs to hundreds of thousands of families in the past 3 decades, especially on the annual Spring Festival gala. As a prestigious Major General in the Chinese army’s musical troupe, she would be seen singing in remote frontiers, in isolated islands, in debris-covered earthquake areas, and in flood-stricken countries, powering the rescuing efforts and stimulating the army morale. As a Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS for the World Health Organization, she has been participating in various charity activities and helping lobby governments around the world to take action to prevent and cure the two diseases in recent years. As a woman bearing Chinese traditional idea, she proves to be a qualified wife and an intelligent mother with her daughter studying in Harvard. And now, in addition to all these glories, she steps into the limelight again as the full-fledged first lady as her husband, Xi Jinping, began to take the reins of the 2nd largest world economy.
She is Peng Liyuan. At the moment she is accompanying her husband in his debut trip as a president to Russia and several African countries. With a smile on her face, dressed in a simple black peacoat and an elegant unbranded bag in her hand, she moved elegantly down the ladder of the chartered plane yesterday and became an instant internet hit.
Glamorous, beautiful, approachable, vivacious, magnanimous, composed and all are words netizens used to express their affections for the newly political-savvy star. She is admired not only for her enchanted qualities, but also because the fact that a charming, full-fledged first lady has long been expected of the civilized nation.
In American culture, first ladies are always playing a role of great importance, just as Hillary Clinton says, “The American people have made the role of the First Lady one of the most important jobs in the country. ... It is a tribute to American women that, coming from different social and economic backgrounds, from many different geographical regions, and with diverse educational preparation, each First Lady served our country so well. Each left her own mark, and each teaches us something special about our history.” When it comes to state visit, it’s better for the first ladies to embody the country her husband is manipulating. In a word, first ladies are a soft power, which register a country’s spiritual image.
No matter when the foreign first ladies such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, were reported to be enrolled in a state visit, we were trying to find their counterparts of our own. We were glad and felt comfortable to find that Wang Yeping, ex-President Jiang Zeming’s wife, and Liu Yongqing, ex-President Hu Jintao’s wife, were on the spot. Both of them are great!
“I think the major role of the First Lady is to take care of the President so that he can best serve the people. And not to fail her family, her husband, and children.” (Jackie Kennedy, spouse of US ex-President Jackie Kennedy) Furthermore,“The first lady is, and always has been, an unpaid public servant elected by one person, her husband.”(Lady Bird Johnson, spouse of US ex-President Lyndon B. Johnson) As a matter of fact, we must say Mrs. Wang and Mrs. Liu played their role of first lady well. They have contributed a lot for their nation’s interests.
However, there is no denying that our first ladies seemed to have been keeping a low profile all the time, the reasons for which may not be an easy task to expound. Except for political, historical and traditional elements, personal physical and comprehensive qualities are likely to be two deterrents for them to better play the role.
Now comes Peng Liyuan. She is sure to make a great difference.
She is embodying an open, confident, and energetic China. There is ample reason to believe that her performance as the first lady will be as excellent, if not more, as that as a prestigious singer.