China’s power couple Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan celebrate 30th wedding anniversary

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 11:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 11:48pm

China’s most powerful couple – President Xi Jinping and well-known folk singer Peng Liyuan – marked their 30th wedding anniversary on Friday.

The pair tied the knot on September 1, 1987 in Xiamen, Fujian province, when Xi was deputy mayor of the coastal city in southeast China.

Peng, who is 10 years Xi’s junior, was already an accomplished army soprano known for singing propaganda songs when they met, and was for many years better known than Xi.

She travelled to Xiamen from Beijing on their wedding day.

Local bureaucrats came to their home to help them register, and a number of local officials attended their wedding banquet at a hotel.

Many of Xi’s colleagues did not know who he was marrying until the day and were surprised to see a famous singer at the dinner, the state-run Global Times reported in 2012.

“How come she’s here?” one government secretary asked Xi while they shook hands.

“She’s my beloved,” the future president replied.

Xi was marrying for the second time. He was previously married to Ke Lingling, the daughter of a Chinese diplomat, for three years before they divorced.

Since Xi became president in 2013, Peng has become the most visible first lady after Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing. The singer has been wielding Chinese soft power with her elegant style, proficient English and advocacy work for children affected by HIV/Aids.

State media reports emphasise the couple’s enduring love, running photos of them holding hands and stories about how much they care for each other.

On Valentine’s Day in 2015, state mouthpiece People’s Daily posted an article on social media headlined, “You are the only one in my eyes from now on”, expressing admiration for their marriage.