While the US has Michelle Obama, the Chinese are hailing the debut of Peng Liyuan, the wife of China's new president Xi Jinping and the country's latest diplomatic star.
It may have been new Chinese President Xi Jinping's first foreign trip, but the media limelight shone mostly on China’s new first lady, Peng Liyuan during the diplomatic mission to Moscow and Africa last week.
The Chinese folk singer, who is a household name in China, has been married to Xi for over 25 years. With Xi assuming the mantle of China’s new leader, many are seeing that Peng will assume the role equivalent to her US counterpart Michelle Obama and provide the world's most populous nation and fledging economic superpower the international charm offensive it needs.
Peng, 51, first gained her fame as a folk song singer in the 80s when she started appearing regularly on CCTV annual New Year gala and her performances since had won her many fans. In 2004, she also took on the role of Mulan for an opera performance, which was even performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York in 2005 and the Vienna State Opera House in 2008.
The mother of one also holds the civilian rank of major-general in China’s People’s Liberation Army and was one of the few who obtained a master’s degree in traditional ethnic music back in the 80s.
Peng, who hails from Shandong province, was also selected as the good-will ambassador for AIDS and tuberculosis by the World Health Organisation in 2011.
Click on for pictures of Chinese's latest diplomatic star, Peng Liyuan.
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