By XUANCHEN FAN
At an APEC event in Beijing on Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin put a shawl over the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Peng Liyuan kindly accepted the offer, but seconds later she slipped the shawl off into the hands of a waiting aide.
The small act aroused media’s attention and put Chinese First Lady in the news again.
Since Peng Liyuan’s first debut as China’s First Lady in March, 2013, she grabbed the world’s attention and media began to notice her and her clothes.
Peng Liyuan is China’s most enduring pop-folk icon and performing artist. She gained popularity as a singer from her regular appearances on the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala (a widely viewed Chinese television program during Chinese New Year).
She holds a master’s degree in traditional ethnic music and now serves as the dean of the Art Academy of the People’s Liberation Army. She holds the rank of a major general.
When it was announced that Xi Jinping would become China’s next president, people even joked: “Who is Xi Jinping? He is Peng Liyuan’s husband.”
At Peng’s international debut as China’s First Lady, she wore a belted overcoat, accented by a stand-up collar and a light blue scarf in Moscow. Smiling radiantly, she shook hands with the Russian hosts, a step or two behind her husband.
The glamorous and fashionable look leaves a good impression. Chinese analysts even think that Peng can similarly help burnish China’s image overseas.
“Because of her performer’s background and presence, I think she will definitely add points for her husband,” said Tian Yimiao, an associate professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. “It could make her into a diplomatic idol.”
It seems that Peng’s star power will push the diplomats into the background. The only one concern is that she might unintentionally upstage Chinese president.