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It ain’t over till Peng Liyuan sings

November 17, 2012

Spouses of top leaders in China were always kept out of sight. Can celebrity singer Peng Liyuan, wife of the newly appointed communist party leader Xi Jinping, change that?

China has a long tradition of gender bias, which still persists. Not only one child policy that brought to substantial gender imbalance, even their educational system is aligned with male dominance. The best schools give male students better scores and are even proud of it. The Ministry of Education explains their discriminatory scoring system as designed “to protect the interest of the nation”. No wonder, there are only two women in 25 member advisory committee to the Politburo, which itself was and remains exclusively men’s club.

So, how does Peng Liyuan fit into this male picture? She joined the army at the age of 18 as an ordinary soldier, but her vocal talent soon made her famous. Long before marrying Mr Xi, she won many honours in singing competitions and became a nationwide star. Before her husband became visible part of the party, Peng Liyuan performed almost every day, she even sang at the Lincoln Center in New York.

However, when her husband made it to the top, Ms Liyuan disappeared from the stage, following a set of unwritten rules about the comportment of women attached to important men. But nevertheless, the new first lady remains such a celebrity, that even Chinese party may not be able to keep her out of sight.

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From → Hic Salta

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