Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, who in March will take on the offices of president and prime minister respectively of China, are very different from each other. Even more contrast with are their their wives, known across the country as a star of folk song and a modest academic professor.
59-year-old Xi was on Thursday announced the new Secretary General of the party, and in March next year will replace Hu Jintao as president the country. His 10 years younger wife, Peng Liyuan, is a legendary singer of folk songs, often likened to Italian model and singer Carla Bruni, who married the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The first lady of China has soprano-sang the praises of the country and the party, along with others, for 24 years in a row, on a popular New Year‘s program aired on state television and watched by hundreds of millions of people. By the time it became clear that Xi was groomed to take top positions, he remained in the shadow of his wife’s popularity. Shortly after his appointment to the powerful Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the party in 2007, Peng ceased singing on television.
Since the time of Mao Zedong, the father of Chinese communism, the wives of local leaders stayed out of the way. However, now it seems that Peng will return to the stage, but this time in a new role, without strong makeup and fantastic costumes, which she wore during television appearances .
She is engaged in projects similar to the first ladies of Western countries, helping highlight the image of her husband. In May, together with software magnate Bill Gates, Peng promoted anti-tobaccol day, and in early June was appointed goodwill ambassador in the campaign against HIV and tuberculosis conducted by the World Health Organisation. In May 2008, she visited the areas affected by the earthquake in Sichuan province, also giving charity performances.
It is completely different for the 57-year-old wife of Li Keqiang, who in March 2013 will replace Wen Jiabao as prime minister of China. Younger than Li by two years, Cheng Hong is an English teacher, translator of books and a senior researcher at the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. She specialises in American literature. Although she likes to teach, from the time when her husband came to the ruling elite, she completely abandoned teaching students.
According to reports in the media of Hong Kong and Taiwan, Cheng is not interested in popularity or a career in business. She most values quiet academic life and is completely devoted to her studies. When the university offered the position of Dean, she did not accept, so as not to create the impression that the job was thanks to her husband’s political influence.
Despite all the differences in the the marriages between the two politicians, however, there are some similarities. The two new “first couples” of China each have one child, in both cases it is a daughter, and the two daughters, as reported by the media, are currently studying in the USA.Source : tvn24 “‘Chińska Carla Bruni’ i anglistka. Kim są najważniejsze kobiety Chin?”
- China’s best-educated leader (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s stopgap leadership (chinadailymail.com)
- The folk singer who became China’s first lady (bbc.co.uk)