• Wed
  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 11:41pm

Does Xi Jinping look like South Korean TV star? Chinese first lady makes allusion on Seoul visit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 11:31am

China’s first lady has compared the looks of her husband – President Xi Jinping in his younger years to that of popular South Korean actor Kim Soo-hyun.

First lady Peng Liyuan, who accompanied her husband on his first visit to South Korea as China’s leader, made the comment on Thursday afternoon during a discussion about the popular TV drama My Love from the Star.

She was touring the Changdeokgung Palace Complex, the second royal villa built in 1405. Peng said that when she and her daughter were looking at photos of a much younger Xi, they agreed he resembled the show’s leading man, Do Minjoon, played by Kim.

The conversation started when Peng received two bottle openers – printed with the Korean characters for “star” and “flower” – as gifts from Cho Yoon-sun, secretary of political affairs for President Park Geun-hye, according to the Korean Yonhap News Agency.

Peng’s comment even merited a short segment on a Korean television newscast.

In the show, Kim, now in his mid-20s, plays a 400-year-old alien called Do Minjoon who finds his true love on earth. My Love from the Star started airing in South Korea last year and reached transnational fame.

Watch: My Love from the Star Trailer

It became a hit in China this year, with many Chinese fans streaming it online. This TV drama later became a phenomenon, topping the average audience share in several Asian countries and winning multiple awards.

According to AGB Nielsen’s rating, the show’s average audience share in South Korea reached 24.02 per cent – a sizeable chunk considering the fierce competition for ratings.

Some Chinese fans even purchased a full-page advert containing love letters to Kim in a Beijing newspaper earlier this year.

It even has fans in high places: state media reported that Wang Qishan – chief of the central anti-graft agency, admitted that he watched the show, saying that China could learn from South Korea’s success in cultural exports.

But many mainland Chinese netizens bristled at the comparison with Kim, saying the young Xi looked “more handsome”.

“No matter how handsome Do is, Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger is always cuter,” a Weibo user said, referring to a cartoon character that has been thought to resemble Xi.

Others saw humour in it. “So this indicates when Do Minjoon gets old, he will look like Xi?” wrote a commentator from Beijing.

Peng will focus on cultural exchange during her visit, accordnig to Chinese news agency Xinhua. 

Also at the tour of Changdeokgung Place Complex yesterday, Peng mentioned another Korean TV drama. Peng said the palace experience was like walking into the set of Dae Jang Geum, another highly popular Korean TV show that aired in 2003. 

The show was about the first female royal physician of the Joseon dynasty. Weibo photos also showed Peng shopping in Seoul’s Dongdaemun, an all-night wholesale district.

It was reported that the first lady bought a big cake for her husband. Wearing a white blouse with stiff collar and black trousers, Peng looked happy and relaxed in the photos.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Come on SCMP, this is tabloid stuff!
XI JINPING may have similar with Korean actor but XI heart is similar with HITLER.
No comparison.............Xi's face and features are real.............all Korean men and women have a plastic face which is all fake..............in fact, if all Korean actors and actresses stopped doing plastic surgery, no one would bother to watch any of their shows.
Daily, that's a racist generalisation. It's like saying all Chinese people are buck-toothed and ugly.
And all Chinese entertainers have plastic surgery. Why does no one watch their shows?
But I have to say Xi could be more handsome. Even the actor has not taken any plastic surgery, he must receive a lot of skin care treatment to him more appealing - he is in the modern entertainment industry. But Xi was in an environment that beauty was banned, and the technology and knownledge about beauty was not comparable with nowadays.
it is actually a very clever comment by the First Lady.
First of all, apart from her First Lady status, being a renowned Chinese contemporary folk singer and performing artist, ordinary people would have thought the First Lady would only be interested in classical music and opera alike 'Noble class' culture. To many's surprise, the recent First Lady's comment on the resembling looks between the main actor of the extremely popular Korean drama and her husband in his teens gives flavour that the First Lady does care about the pop culture enjoyed by ordinary people, especially the young generation in China. It is a great indication of her being "close to the people". Secondly, she made such comment during their Korean visit, Korean side should feel very honoured since such a comment reveals China's acknowledgement of Korea Pop culture success in the Chinese market. Thirdly, the drama mentioned, <professor from Stars>, had actually once received a certain degree of restriction exerted by the Japanese government in the hope of reducing the influence of pop culture in Japan. This corresponds to one of Xi's Korean visit's main themes that Japan seems to be walking away from the cooperating platform mutually set by the North East Asia 3 countries long time ago, along with its trend of growing more right or even back to its imperial militarism. What a brilliant comment by the First Lady!
The First Lady must have fallen in love with the Korean actor. There is no similarity at all !

Mr. Xi has more substance...
Adultery at hand here?
Or is our great leader Korean and we just don't know it?


SCMP.com Account