That is a question Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi Jinping, was asked 14 years ago in an interview with a TV station. The footage of a section of the interview was madly reposted on the internet in China yesterday before President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit abroad to Russia accompanied by Peng today.
In that year, Peng was much more well-known than Xi Jinping. To the TV host’s question, Peng replied with ease. She praised Xi Jinping as a man with “lofty aspirations” and said that she was always in a “subordinate position.”
Yesterday, Jinping began his first visit abroad since his inauguration as the president. Peng Liyuan, who is to accompany him, became the focus of media attention. There was frenzied reposting on Chinese microblogs of a section of Peng’s interview with a TV station on its talk show in 1999.
In that year, Peng was 37 years old and had been a singer known to every household. She wore a checked western suit, looked unadorned, natural, poised and relaxed. At that time, Xi Jiping was acting governor of Fujian Province.
Dou Wentao, the talk show host, said, “I think that the man who has married you must be both happy and…”
Peng Liyuan said, “Married me… Ha ha ha!”
Dou then said, “Your husband has always been introduced as Peng Liyuan’s husband. Is that a great pressure?”
Peng said laughing, “In Chinese women’s traditional perspective, especially us Shandong natives who follow Confucius and Mencius teachings, we can never say that a man marries a woman. Even if you are an able woman, you still shall say that you are married to a man. It seems that I find that I am always in a subordinate position.”
Dou Wentao followed up with another question: “But do you know that your husband has always been introduced to others by telling them his wife is Peng Liyuan? Then gradually he himself…”
Peng said, “That will not be the case. It depends on whom one has been married to. One will not think that way if one has been married to a man with a successful career, a man with lofty aspirations, a man highly educated and a man who is able to be one’s master.”
Peng became acquainted with Xi Jinping in 1986 through other people’s introduction and married him the next year. They have a daughter named Xi Mingze. In the talk show, Peng said that she knew how to judge people: “Before I married a person, I certainly had to find a man who can be master of my affections and thoughts. That was why I am married to him.”
Dou asked, “Then do you think that you have found a very successful man according to your standards?”
Peng said straightforwardly, “I believe there is no need for you to ask me that question. I have been married to him for over a dozen of years. That you think is certainly very successful. It is why I am filled with happiness.” She added that she was a very traditional Shandong woman, “What I like most is cleaning house, doing the washing and cooking and I am quite a good cook.”
Liang Wendao, the guest host of the show at that time, told Sing Tao in a telephone interview that he did not remember much about the interview that year, but in his impression Peng was “kind and affable” and “at that time I knew that she was a famous singer in China, but not much about her husband Xi Jinping.”Source: Singdao Daily “Peng Liyuan: ‘I am always in a subordinate position’”
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