Peng Liyuan

First lady Peng Liyuan to perform with Russian troupe, report says

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 9:10am

First lady Peng Liyuan kept a low profile yesterday although her emergence from the plane with her husband, President Xi Jinping, on Friday drew so much media coverage on the first day of their state visit to Russia that she nearly stole his limelight.

Peng, a famous folk singer, appeared in public yesterday, sitting among the audience during Xi's speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, but her other activities were not publicised.

However, Russian media said she would perform a song yesterday with the Alexandrov Ensemble, a prestigious military troupe - but only behind closed doors.

China's media were silent about Peng's performance, but on Friday Rusnews.cn quoted the ensemble's deputy head as saying that it would hold a concert for Peng yesterday.

The report said Peng would also attend a performance of Russian and Chinese songs and would sing, along with the ensemble's in-house choir, the Russian folk song Oh, the Snowball Tree Is In Blossom in both Mandarin and Russian.

Peng is a former key member of China's Song and Dance Troupe under the People's Liberation Army's General Political Department and holds the rank of major general.

In the past two days, she has become a focal point of the mainland media and social-networking sites.

Hangzhou-based Qianjiang Evening Post reported yesterday that the viewership of Network News on China Central Television rose to a new high on Friday evening as hundreds of millions of people hoped to catch a glimpse of her performance.

Peng's appearance in Moscow runs counter to the tradition of Chinese first ladies living in their husband's shadow.

A decade ago, no mainland media highlighted Liu Yongqing when she joined her husband Hu Jintao on his first presidential visit to Moscow.