For the first time after the Mao era, China is set to welcome a high-profile First Lady as the wife of the ruling CPC’s new supreme leader Xi Jinping is a celebrated singer who is expected to bring colour and glamour to his office.
49-year-old Peng Liyuan is the second wife of Xi, 59, who will replace Hu Jintao as President in March. The couple got married when Xi was the deputy mayor of Xiamen City, reportedly after months of dating.
Unlike other Communist leaders who rose through party ranks in relative obscurity, Xi’s marriage to Peng, who was already well-known all over the country as an iconic singer, made him famous. For decades, she regaled the audience over the state television with patriotic songs.
Their daughter Xi Mingze, who was born in 1992, is reportedly studying in the US.
Analysts say that for the first time in three decades, China is going to have a famous and active First Lady as the wives of most of the leaders, other than Mao Zedong, never took up any public role.
Many now wonder what role Peng will play even though she has curtailed her singing performances a great deal after her marriage.
Jiang Qing, wife of Mao and a member of the infamous ’Gang of Four’, was also an actress until she married him in 1938 and grew to be a powerful woman attempting to seize power after his death.
As a member of ‘Gang of Four’ she was sentenced to death, which was later converted to life imprisonment. She reported to have committed suicide in 1991.