Peng Liyuan
彭丽媛
Peng Liyuan.jpg
Spouse of the Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China
Assumed role
15 November 2012
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Preceded byLiu Yongqing
Spouse of the President of the People's Republic of China
Assumed role
14 March 2013
PresidentXi Jinping
Preceded byLiu Yongqing
President of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Art
In office
May 2012 – July 2017
Preceded byZhang Jigang
Succeeded byZhang Qichao
Member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
(9th, 10th, 11th)
In office
February 1998 – March 2013
ChairmanLi Ruihuan
Jia Qinglin
Personal details
Born (1962-11-20) 20 November 1962 (age 59)
Yuncheng County, Shandong, China
Political partyCommunist Party of China
Spouse(s)
(m. 1987)
ChildrenXi Mingze
Alma materChina Conservatory of Music
OccupationSinger, Professor of vocal music
ProfessionSoprano and (first holder of a master's degree in) "Chinese ethnic vocal music" (中国民族声乐)
Military service
Allegiance People's Republic of China
Branch/service
Flag of the People
People's Liberation Army
Years of service1980–2017
RankMajor General
CommandsPeople's Liberation Army Academy of Art

Peng Liyuan (Chinese: 彭丽媛; pinyin: Péng Lìyuán; born 20 November 1962) is a Chinese soprano and contemporary folk singer and the spouse of Xi Jinping, the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and President of the People's Republic of China.[1]Peng gained popularity as a singer from her regular appearances on the annual CCTV New Year's Gala, a widely viewed Chinese television program that airs during the Chinese New Year.[2] She won honors in singing competitions nationwide.[2] Her most famous singles include《父老乡亲》("People from Our Village"),《珠穆朗玛》("Zhumulangma"), and《在希望的田野上》("In the Field of Hope"). Peng also sang the theme songs of several popular TV series, such as The Water Margin (1998). She also starred in musical productions. In 1986, she received the Plum Blossom Award, China's highest theatrical award, for her lead role in The White Haired Girl.[3] She was the president of then People's Liberation Army Academy of Art between 2012 and 2017, and vice president of the All-China Youth Federation between 2005 and 2010.[4]Peng was a civilian member of the People's Liberation Army and held the civilian rank equivalent to Major General before she was appointed the Art Academy's dean, upon which she was given the formal rank.[2] She is known within China for her fashion sense, credited to her personal couturier Ma Ke.[5][6][7][8]In 2014, Peng was listed as the 57th Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes.[9]

Biography

Peng and Juliana Awada, the First Lady of Argentina, in the Quinta de Olivos, Buenos Aires, December 2018
Peng and Juliana Awada, the First Lady of Argentina, in the Quinta de Olivos, Buenos Aires, December 2018

Peng Liyuan is a native of Yuncheng County, Shandong province. She joined the People's Liberation Army in 1980, when she was 18 years old, as an ordinary soldier. Because of her vocal talent, Peng later performed during front-line tours to boost troop morale during the Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts.[10] She 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.

Peng married Xi Jinping in 1987.[2] Xi and Peng were introduced by friends as many Chinese couples were in the 1980s. Xi was reputedly academic during their courtship, inquiring about singing techniques.[2] The couple married on 1 September 1987 in Xiamen, Fujian. Four days later, Peng Liyuan returned to Beijing to appear in the National Art Festival, and then immediately departed for the United States and Canada to perform. Since that time, Xi and Peng have led largely separate lives, with Peng spending most of her time in Beijing, and her husband spending his time in Fujian and later in Zhejiang. They have a daughter together, named Xi Mingze (Chinese: 习明泽) born in 1992.[11]

Directly after the Tiananmen Square protests in June 1989, Peng sang for the troops. A photo of Peng, wearing a green military uniform, singing to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in Tiananmen Square was scrubbed from China's Internet. The image was from the back cover of a 1989 issue of the People's Liberation Army Pictorial, a publicly available military magazine.[12][13][14]

For the greater part of their relationship, Peng has enjoyed a positive reputation within China.[2] Since her husband became the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012,[2] and President of the People's Republic of China in March 2013, she has often been referred to as the First Lady of China internationally. Peng is actively involved in politics and is a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. She has been a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS since 2011.[15]

On 20 November 2014, Massey University in New Zealand conferred Peng an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her international contributions to performing arts, health, and education.[16] Peng sang in a song-and-dance number in 2007 shown on Chinese television that featured Tibetans thanking the Chinese military for liberating them.[17] On 6 December 2017, Juilliard School, a private performing arts conservatory in New York City, also conferred Peng an Honorary Doctorate at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, in recognition of her accomplishment as an outstanding artist, and also for her contribution to cultural exchanges between China and the United States.[18]

Military decorations

Source:[19]

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See also

References

  1. ^ "Guhantai news 3/30/2013". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Page, Jeremy (13 February 2012). "Meet China's Folk Star First Lady-in-Waiting". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  3. ^ "'The White Haired Girl': 70 years on". China Daily. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Peng Liyuan, a symbol of China's soft power". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Fashion diplomacy: 8 most stylish stateswomen of our times". South China Morning Post.
  6. ^ "China's First Lady Peng Liyuan gives Melania Trump a run for her fashion money". The Straits Times. 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Meet the designer behind China's first lady". CNN Style. 17 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Melania Trump takes fashion diplomacy to new lengths in China". South China Morning Post.
  9. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Peng Liyuan describes her own time in the army" (in Chinese). CE.cn. 1 July 2004. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
  11. ^ Staff Reporter (16 February 2012). "Red Nobility: Xi Jinping's Harvard daughter". Want China Times. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  12. ^ "彭麗媛六四後舊照曝光 外媒:令中國尷尬的照片". Apple Daily. 29 March 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ "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. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  14. ^ "中國第一夫人/彭麗媛 遭爆高歌慰勞六四屠殺部隊". Liberty Times. 30 March 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  15. ^ "UN health agency appoints Chinese singer as Goodwill Ambassador". un.org/. 3 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Honorary doctorate for China's First Lady". Massey University. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  17. ^ As China Readies for Transition, 7 Tibetan Self-Immolations in 7 Days, Time, 29 October 2012.
  18. ^ Chen, Nan (10 December 2017). "Peng receives honorary Juilliard doctorate". China Daily. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Peng Liyuan". Chinese Posters. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
Honorary titles Preceded byLiu Yongqing Spouse of the Paramount leader November 2012–present Incumbent Spouse of the President of China March 2013–present