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First Lady Wise Not to Meet With 'Michelle Obama of China'?

China President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan (pool/Getty Images)
China President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan (pool/Getty Images)

New York magazine's Maureen O'Connor says that Michelle Obama may be smart in not meeting with China's first lady, Peng Liyuan, who is visiting the U.S. this week with her husband, Xi Jinping. The military-propaganda singer reportedly sang in praise of the Chinese army after its crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989. 

"Michelle Obama of China" Peng Liyuan will not be meeting real Michelle Obama during her weekend at "Camp David of the West" Rancho Mirage. (She and husband Xi Jinping are probably chilling with Barack Obama in southern California as we speak.) This is either a thoughtless snub, a shrewdly calculated snub, or evidence that MObama "is just really busy" because Sasha and Malia are about to start summer vacation.

Foreign Policy's Isaac Stone Fish points out that Peng Liyuan's career as a Chinese military propaganda singer means she is a high-ranking member of the People's Liberation Army, and thus a more polarizing figure than you would usually find in a MObama meet-and-greet. (Peng sang in praise of the Chinese military in Tiananmen Square after the 1989 crackdown.) Nonetheless, the Chinese are expected to be "disappointed" by MObama's absence, in part because she is a popular figure in China, too. Commentators like to point to Peng Liyuan and her daughter as emblems of modern Chinese femininity.


Read Maureen O'Connor's entire blog entry at New York magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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