China’s first lady Peng Liyuan visits US cancer research centre
China’s first lady Peng Liyuan started off her first full day in the United States on a solo trip to a leading cancer research centre where she called for closer Sino-US cooperation in health care research.
While Peng’s husband President Xi Jinping was touring Boeing’s Everett assembly line, she was welcomed to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle by its director, Dr Gary Gilliland, and Bill and Melinda Gates on Wednesday.
“Your contributions have given humanity a chance to live longer and better lives,” Peng said.
“In the future I look forward to more opportunities to work together and contribute shared wisdom on global health challenges.”
Gilliland thanked Peng for her contribution in campaigning against smoking in China, citing it as an important step towards preventing rising lung cancer rates in a country where at least 1 million people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.
The 52-year-old, who is also known for her “first lady diplomacy”, has previously campaigned against smoking with Bill Gates, also one of the institution’s main donors ahead of the 25th World No-Tobacco Day in Beijing in 2012.
The institution has been collaborating with Chinese medical researchers and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in various areas of research, including developing HIV vaccines, another area of interest to Peng, who is an HIV/Aids ambassador.
Peng, wearing a structured, grey houndstooth patterned jacket and a black skirt, also toured an HIV vaccine research lab before she joined her husband at Microsoft’s campus for the US-China Internet Industry Forum and a visit to Lincoln high school.
On Friday, she will visit the Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington along with US first lady Michelle Obama, where they will make a “special announcement”, according to a White House statement.
China has gifted four pandas to the National Zoo since 1972 following then-president Richard Nixon’s first visit to China. The two countries have worked closely together on panda conservation for over four decades.