First lady plays key role in China's diplomacy

First lady plays key role in China's diplomacy
Peng Liyuan (Right), wife of China's President Xi Jinping, guides Jayanthi, wife of Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, as they arrive for a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 26, 2015.

The first lady's international image and activities are important to China's public diplomacy, according to China's first public diplomacy research report released on Wednesday.

"China has conveyed kindness and goodwill to the world through the first lady's public diplomacy when the country has been challenged during the rapid economic development," said the report by Renmin University of China, which analyzes China's public diplomatic practices from various perspectives, including those of the government, enterprises and the media.

"Since Peng Liyuan, China's first lady, paid a formal visit to Russia with President Xi Jinping in March 2013, her modesty, appearance and elegant manners, as well as her passion for charity and attention to vulnerable groups, have enchanted domestic and international media. Most foreign media believe that Peng Liyuan is a positive factor raising China's image and have called her China's new business card," wrote Zhou Jiali, researcher from the public diplomacy research centre at China Foreign Affairs University.

The public diplomacy report collected data from Peng's international visits and summarized that the first lady has charmed the world in four ways-her personal appearance to convey Chinese culture, charity actions to communicate love and care, music to open communication and a successful marriage to the leader.

Peng is a popular folk song singer and well-known musician in China. People from other countries might not understand the Chinese language but, as Peng said, 'music hasno boundaries'.Music is an important way to communicate with foreign people, the report said.

Peng sang a classic Chinese folk song Red Plum Blossoming with Russian artists during the international visit in March 2013. She visited the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin with Joachim Sauer, the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in March 2014 and engaged in other similar activities during formal overseas visits.

Peng has been telling of China's kindness through music and gaining resonance with the world, the report said.

"China's actions draw the world's attention now. When China's policies adjust, it affects the global economy. Also, Chinese people have become more interested in international affairs. If a Chinese student studies in the United States, the parents care about the exchange rate of the renminbi and US dollar," said Zhao Qizheng, chief editor of the report and the former minister of China's State Council Information Office, adding that it is important that foreign people know China through public diplomacy.

"International media usually diminish China in terms of the Chinese threat, and China's products being bad, etc.

However, China is not bad," Zhao said, adding that it is necessary to demonstrate an authentic image of China to the world through public diplomacy.

The report also analyzes the role of Chinese enterprises and nongovernment organisations in public diplomacy.

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