Music Is Power

China First Lady Sang to Tiananmen Troops

A photo of China’s glamorous First Lady Peng Liyuan singing to martial law troops following the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters reignited the debate about the role of the president’s wife in the communist country this week. As a popular singer in China, 50-year-old Peng laid low in the years leading up to her husband, Xi Jinping’s election. Now that Xi is the number one leader of the Chinese Communist Party, however, many hope Liyuan will be able to sing the CCP back into good favor. The swiftly deleted image of a pony-tailed, military-uniform-wearing Peng shows a very different side of the first lady, who has appeared in “trendy suits and coiffed hair” this week while touring Russia and Africa with Xi. As a major general in the People’s Liberation Army, Peng’s step into the spotlight has been shrouded in praise for her “beauty and charm.”