By Katie Nelson
Peng Liyuan, wife of recently appointed president Xi Jinping, made her debut as First Lady in the midst of foreign travels this week and the internet is simply abuzz.
“So beautiful, Peng Liyuan, so beautiful! How composed, how magnanimous,” wrote one user on Sina Weibo.
“The U.S. has Michelle (Obama), we have Peng Liyuan,” another micro-blogger, @mlxftmilixiaofantuan, gushed.
Peng, 51, garnered much social media praise for her hairstyle and outfit after an appearance with the president in Moscow on Friday. Fans are describing her as the most fashionable and elegant First Lady China has ever seen.
This is quite a change of pace from Peng’s predecessors, who seldom made public appearances, let alone managed to inspire advertisements for “First Lady’s Coats” on online shopping sites like Taobao.
Of course, Peng is also a renowned songstress-known in China for her folk-like ballads People from Our Village (父老乡亲) and On the Plains of Hope (在希望的田野上)-a philanthropist, and a major general in the People’s Liberation Army.
Many are hopeful that the charming First Lady will soften the Communist Party’s image overseas.
“If people see that Xi has such a beautiful wife, it would make the (communist) party seem more human and less robotic,” Li Yinhe, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the New York Times.