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Peng Liyuan  

The "Chinese First Lady" & Wife of Chinese Leader Xi Jinping; President of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Art; Folk Singer & Performing Artist

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.

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 PRC paramount leader Xi Jinping for over 25 years; they have a daughter named Xi Mingze (习明泽) born in 1992, nicknamed as Xiao Muzi (小木子). For the greater part of their relationship, Peng has had a considerable reputation within China, comparable to that of her politician husband. Since her husband became the president, American press refers to her as the first lady of China.

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. 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 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters 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.

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 invaded Tibet in 1959. The video has provoked severe criticism from Tibetan rights groups.

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.


China's First Lady Peng Liyuan Brings Rare Glamour to U.S. Summit ...

From Yahoo! News: Peng Liyuan Was a Major Star in China Before Her Husband Became China's Leader.

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