By Erik Crouch
“Come on guys, it’s like I’m being massacred up here!”
Singing about how primitive Tibetans were saved by the PLA may be only the second most inflammatory serenade in the long career of China’s new first lady. An old photo, newly rediscovered—and immediately censored—of Peng Liyuan singing to troops in Tiananmen square in 1989 to comfort them after [nothing happened].
The Associated Press interviewed human rights lawyers about the photos:
It 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 and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China. […]
“I think that we have a lot of people hoping that because Xi Jinping walks around without a tie on and his wife is a singer who travels with him on trips that maybe we’re dealing with a new kind of leader, but I think these images remind people that this is the same party.”
In other words, it’s not exactly a big deal that Peng Liyuan sang. She was a singer for the PLA army, so of course she did. The problem is that her new moniker “China’s Michelle Obama” tends to gloss over some history that’s a bit more gritty than organic foods and toned biceps.