First lady adds charming edge to diplomacy

Updated: 2015-09-28 04:30

(China Daily USA)

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First lady adds charming edge to diplomacy

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, UNESCO's Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education, delivers a speech in English at the Global Education First Initiative event at the United Nations in New York on Sept 26, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Peng Liyuan is more than simply China's first lady. She has enjoyed a glittering career as a folk singer since the 1980s.

After President Xi Jinping took office in 2013 she has attracted a lot of attention from home and abroad. She is also playing a major role in her country's efforts to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS and the stigma that surrounds them.

Just weeks after becoming first lady, Peng attracted the limelight and headlines when she accompanied her husband on a trip to Russia, Xi's fi rst state visit as president.

In a dark-blue trench coat and light-blue scarf, she stepped off the plane in Moscow and onto the world stage, drawing comparisons in the international media to Michelle Obama; Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former French first lady; and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

She is known for her elegant mixture of Western and classic Chinese styles, while some of the brands she has worn, including little-known Chinese labels, have seen dramatic upticks in business.

In March last year, she wore a classic Chinese robe for a banquet at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, and in November, she appeared in a traditional blue, floral-patterned qipao to join Xi in welcoming leaders arriving in Beijing for the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting.

Her role in sharing Chinese culture with the world has not stopped with her attire, however.

She accompanied US first lady Michelle Obama, as well as Michelle's mother and her two daughters, on a tour of Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in March last year.

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