US first lady shows character during maiden visit to China
Updated: 2014-03-22 00:56
By LI XIAOKUN (China Daily)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) meet with US First Lady Michelle Obama in Beijing, capital of China, March 21, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
Malia Obama, the US first family's elder daughter, recognized Audrey Fritz, her schoolmate at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC, in the classroom.
The pair embraced and Malia told Audrey to meet her during the next semester back in the US.
Alex Wade, another student, said, "I heard that this is going to be the first meeting between the first ladies of the United States and China. It is a momentous occasion." Student Maya Dornbrand-Lo said the fact that Michelle Obama "is coming to China to promote education carries a lot of weight".
Ailslinn Mayfield, 16, said: "I know she (Peng) is revered really highly, and when I talked to a lot of Chinese people they said 'Oh she is beautiful, I love her’. And I think the same applies for Michelle Obama in America."
Obama played table tennis in the school stadium, reminding people of the table tennis diplomacy that helped to warm relations between Beijing and Washington in 1971 and led to the normalization of bilateral ties.
Later, Peng and Obama toured the Forbidden City on a warm, blue-sky day. US President Barack Obama said in 2009 after touring the historic site that he hoped to revisit it with his wife and daughters one day.
Michelle Obama wrote in her travel journal, posted on the Internet for US students to follow, that "Madame Peng is a warm and gracious host."
She noted that many classes are taught in English. "One room even has a map of the United States on the ceiling", and the curriculum prepares students to study internationally once they graduate.
"Many students here hope one day to attend college in America," she wrote.
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