Peng Liyuan

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Peng.
Peng Liyuan
彭丽媛
Peng Liyuan A.jpg
First Lady of the People's Republic of China
Incumbent
Assumed office
14 March 2013
Preceded by Liu Yongqing
Personal details
Born (1962-11-20) November 20, 1962 (age 52)
Yuncheng County, Shandong, China
Spouse(s) Xi Jinping
Children Xi Mingze
Residence Beijing
Alma mater China Conservatory of Music
Occupation Musician

Peng Liyuan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: 彭麗媛; pinyin: Péng Lìyuán; born November 20, 1962) is a renowned Chinese contemporary folk singer and performing artist. She is the wife of current Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and as such referred to as the "Chinese First Lady" by the media.[1] As of 2014, she is listed as the 57th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[2]

Peng is the Dean of the People's Liberation Army Art Academy. She gained popularity as a soprano singer from her regular appearances on the annual CCTV New Year's Gala, a widely viewed mainland Chinese television program that airs during the Chinese New Year.[3] She has won many honors in singing competitions nationwide.[3] Her most famous singles include People from Our Village (父老乡亲), Zhumulangma (珠穆朗玛) and In the Field of Hope (在希望的田野上). Peng is a civilian member of China's People's Liberation Army and holds the civilian rank equivalent to major general.[3] She was the first in China to obtain a Master's degree in traditional ethnic music when the degree was established in the 1980s.

Biography[edit]

Peng Liyuan is a native of Yuncheng County, Shandong province. She joined the People's Liberation Army in 1980 when she was 18 and began as an ordinary soldier, but with her vocal talent later performed during frontline tours to boost troop morale during the Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts.[4] Peng first performed nationally and came to fame during the earliest rendition of the CCTV New Year's Gala in 1982, when she performed On the Plains of Hope.

She has been married to Xi Jinping for over 25 years;[3] they have a daughter named Xi Mingze (习明泽) born in 1992, nicknamed as Xiao Muzi (小木子).[5] For the greater part of their relationship, Peng has had a considerable reputation within China, comparable to that of her politician husband.[6] Since her husband became Chinese President in March 2013, American press refers to her as the First Lady of China.[3]

Xi and Peng were introduced by friends like many Chinese couples in the 1980s. Xi was reputedly academic during their courtship, inquiring about ethnic Chinese music.[3] Xi was the son of famous Chinese revolutionary Xi Zhongxun, and Peng's family obviously accepted the relationship with ease, due to his attitude. After parental consent, the couple married on September 1, 1987 in Xiamen, Fujian. Four days later, Peng Liyuan returned to Beijing to appear in the national art festival and then immediately left for the United States and Canada to perform. Since then they have led largely separate lives, with Peng spending most of her time in Beijing and her husband in Fujian and later Zhejiang.

Right after the Tiananmen Square protests in June 1989, Peng Liyuan sang for martial-law troops. A photo shows the scene that Peng, wearing a green military uniform, sings to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in rows on Beijing's Tiananmen Square was swiftly scrubbed from China's Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image — seen and shared by outside observers — revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress. The image is a snapshot of the back cover of a 1989 issue of a publicly available military magazine, the People's Liberation Army Pictorial.[7][8][9][10]

Peng also starred in a song-and-dance number in 2007 that has perky women in Tibetan garb sashaying behind her while she sings an ode to the army that took over Tibet in 1959. The video has provoked severe criticism from Tibetan rights groups.[11]

Peng is actively involved in politics herself, and is a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. She is also a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS since 2011.[12]

As of 2014, she is listed as the 57th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[2]

On November 20, 2014, Massey University in New Zealand conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Madame Peng in recognition of her international contributions to performing arts and health and education.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guhantai news 3/30/2013
  2. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Page, Jeremy (February 13, 2012). "Meet China’s Folk Star First Lady-in-Waiting". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Peng Liyuan describes her own time in the army" (in Chinese). CE.cn. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  5. ^ Staff Reporter (February 16, 2012). "Red Nobility: Xi Jinping's Harvard daughter". Want China Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Page, Jeremy (February 13, 2012). "Meet China’s Folk Star First Lady-in-Waiting". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ UMBERTO BACCHI (March 28, 2013). "China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan a Censors' Headache". International Business Times. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  8. ^ 彭麗媛六四後舊照曝光 外媒:令中國尷尬的照片, Apple Daily (Taiwan), 2013年03月29日
  9. ^ 第一夫人觸屠殺敏感話題 彭麗媛六四勞軍照 閃電刪除, Apple Daily (Taiwan), 2013年03月30日
  10. ^ 彭麗媛 遭爆高歌慰勞六四屠殺部隊, Liberty Times, 2013-3-30
  11. ^ As China Readies for Transition, 7 Tibetan Self-Immolations in 7 Days, Tibetan Youth Congress, 30 October 2012
  12. ^ "UN health agency appoints Chinese singer as Goodwill Ambassador". un.org/. 2011-06-03. 

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Liu Yongqing
Spouse of the President of the People's Republic of China
2013–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent