Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

‘The Kate effect’: China in grip of first lady fever as Peng steps out [The Age] #China #softpower]


Whatever term one uses, it is simply soft power, Chinese style.

China has a recent history of esteemed First Ladies captured widely in popular culture for years. If she can ignite the imagination of the the women around Greater China the that would boost the Chinese sphere of influence greatly. Their consensus would have mean a more finely tuned Chinese model for growth down this new period.

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‘The Kate effect’: China in grip of first lady fever as Peng steps out
Malcolm Moore in Beijing for the Daily Telegraph
Source – The Age, published March 25, 2013

China’s new president flew out of Moscow on Sunday pronouncing himself “deeply satisfied” with his first official trip overseas. But back home, the only topic of conversation was his elegant wife.
Footage of Peng Liyuan, 49, triggered first lady fever in the Chinese media and on the internet.
Mrs Peng, a Chinese folk singer and major-general in the Chinese army who sings for the People’s Liberation Army, is arguably just as famous in China as her husband, Xi Jinping, who was inaugurated as president two weeks ago.

20130325-091812.jpg

“Graceful”: Peng Liyuan. Photo: AFP

“Now is the end of our quest for a graceful first lady,” wrote the deputy editor of the Hong Kong Commercial Daily newspaper on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Yesterday, the Beijing News ran a full page of stories about Mrs Peng’s itinerary in Moscow, alongside a photograph of her arriving at a speech dressed in an elegant Chinese-style silk tunic and skirt.

“In her role as first lady on this visit abroad, Peng Liyuan is exhibiting China’s soft power,” Wang Fan, head of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the newspaper. The footage of her in Moscow quickly caused something akin to the “Kate Middleton effect”, with copies of a black coat she wore instantly appearing on Taobao, an online shopping site, for 499 yuan ($76.76), and advertised as “in the same style as the first lady’s”.

“Her shoes are really classic, and who designed her bag?” wrote another user on Weibo. In fact, a black leather clutch she carried was made to order by a Chinese firm in the south-western city of Chengdu.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.

The excitement over Mrs Peng comes after 20 years of China’s first ladies keeping a very discreet profile. Liu Yongqing, the wife of the previous president, Hu Jintao, rarely appeared in public. Wang Yeping, the wife of Mr Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin, also usually stayed behind the scenes.

The couple flew out of Moscow to Tanzania and will then go on to South Africa and Congo. During the trip, Mrs Peng, who works on tuberculosis and HIV/Aids outreach for the World Health Organisation, is expected to be involved in other public events.

Mrs Peng met Mr Xi, 59, through a mutual friend in 1986, when he was deputy mayor of the eastern city of Xiamen. Mr Xi had been briefly married before to the daughter of the Chinese ambassador to Britain.

At first, she said she was unimpressed with Mr Xi because he looked “rustic and old”. The pair are separated in age by a decade. However, she later concluded that he was “really intelligent”.
“When he comes home, I’ve never thought of it as though there’s some leader in the house,” she said in an interview with a Chinese magazine in 2007. “In my eyes, he’s just my husband.”
Mrs Peng has said Mr Xi likes swimming and mountain climbing and sometimes stays up at night to watch sport on television.

The Daily Telegraph, London

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/the-kate-effect-china-in-grip-of-first-lady-fever-as-peng-steps-out-20130325-2goll.html#ixzz2OUupGjzp

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Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Media, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Telegraph UK, The Age, The Chinese Identity, U.K.

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