No red-carpet faceoff? Michelle Obama won’t meet China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan

June 7, 2013Jing Gao4 Comments, , , ,

This is a moment that Chinese have long been waiting for – China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan shake hands with her U.S. counterpart Michelle Obama, with the rest of the world sizing them up, chattering about which one is more graceful and has a better red-carpet look.

“Now that we finally have a presentable First Lady,” many Chinese who are too familiar with the former folk singer heaved a sigh of relief last November when her husband took helm as China’s leader.


But it fails to materialize during this visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, from June 6 to June 8, to Southern California, where he will meet with President Obama alongside his celebrity wife.

“Michelle Obama plans to remain in Washington with their daughters, who finish the school year this week”, her office confirmed on Tuesday.

Most Chinese find her decision unacceptable and inappropriate and her excuse too lame and far-fetched.

alvis86:Insolent American! Lack of courtesy! What an inadequate upbringing!

SNSD__SONE: Even at an ordinary household, when your guest brings his wife to your home, it is a lack of grace and respect if you don’t show up.

Netizens have started their speculations about why she has chosen not to show up. Some believed she will be intimidated and outshone by the more fashionable and prettier Peng Liyuan and therefore avoids a showdown by hiding at home.

Geoffreybaby:Michelle knows very well she can’t compete with Peng Liyuan! [嘻嘻] 米歇尔自知不如彭丽媛哈!

申哲喝ice-latte不加冰:It’s not her daughter’s first school year! If she’s really family-centric, why she shows up all over the place all the time? Definitely she is afraid the press would make a comparison between her and Peng Liyuan, in which she is sure to lose. Then America will lose face!

Many Chinese take offense at the fact that Michelle snubbed their First Lady with her absence and call it is a political matter rather than simply a matter of protocol.

阿飞的名字被占了:The decision to stay home with kids must be a well-deliberated political move.

水中走路:It shows Americans’ disregard for the Xi-Obama summit. First of all, it’s just a show of faces and an exchange of greetings for Chinese and American leaders. Second, it is for testing China on issues like Diaoyu Islands and South China Sea. They don’t really expect any actual consensus to be reached between China and America. Chinese government knows it well. Otherwise, the Xi couple won’t formally visit Latin America first.

There are also, although not many, people who think this reflects different social values.

孤岛数月亮:Michelle is convey this message in this unique manner: family and children come before everything else. Or democracy and human rights trump diplomatic meeting. What a smart way of lecturing!

雾满拦江:This is what they call a qualifying mother. However big the state affair is, the earth keeps spinning even if you are not there. However small the family affair is, problems may ensue if you are not there. Parents should always understand this.

An overview of Peng’s wardrobe choices on diplomatic occasions:

peng08 peng07 peng06 peng05 peng04 peng03 peng02 peng01

Related articles:

4 comments to “No red-carpet faceoff? Michelle Obama won’t meet China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan”

  1. Blacksoth | June 15, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Reminds me of a chinese businessman I once met who thought it was the height of immorality to hire a stranger over blood relative even if that stranger was clearly more qualified.

    Now suddenly family is a political excuse to avoid shallow comparisons? Michelle Obama isn’t just a pretty face with a background in hollywood antics, she’s a trained lawyer. Peng Liyuan’s best hope would be to simply match her. Few first ladies (of any country) are as kind and genuine as Michelle.

  2. SeaHorse | June 26, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    To be honest, I do think Peng Liyuan is one of the best first ladies out there. Aside from being a popular figure, she wears clothing most rich ass Chinese women would not dream to wear, clothes made and designed in China. Peng Liyuan is the most patriotically inspiring person in the whole entire goddamn CPC and they should give her more screen time in stead of canning her up because of her celebrity status. Even as an Overseas Chinese designer I feel inspired to know someone up there have faith in quality design, fashion and art in China.

    I dont’ mind Michelle Obama didn’t meet her, to be honest is it really important? She wanted to be with her kids, it’s not like they’re calling the shots or anything for their husbands. Though Peng probably missed a chance to once again boost the morale of the Chinese fashion industry.

    @Blacksoth, I don’t see how being a lawyer is any better of a vocation than singing really? They’re both gainfully employed.

  3. Blacksoth | June 26, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    @SeaHorse One requires brains, the other doesn’t. And I could go on but I won’t bother. Good point on the fashion industry though. I didn’t think of it that way.

  4. Mad Dog | June 27, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    what silliness. Michelle is a very devoted mother and wife. She was not hosting any visitors to her home. The Chinese posters who lambasted for her actions really need to look closer to home. Ms. Peng doesn’t have any kids to take care of, was not visiting the home of Obama. So why all the fuss. I am sure Michelle would be very gracious if Ms. Peng did visit and her kids probably would be as well. Michelle is raising a wonderful family in trying circumstances while still being the picture of wholesomeness and style. Oh yeah, one last thing, Obama was elected, Xi was basically chosen, so who really represents the Chinese people? A little bit of eye-candy just makes it that much easier for the Chinese to swallow that fact that they are pretty much politically powerless.

Leave a Reply