Meet China's Michelle Obama


She’s the glamorous, fashion icon wife of a world leader. Poised and philanthropic, she maintains a powerful identity separate from her husband’s. And she has captivated his public.

I’m not talking about Michelle Obama. Or Hillary Clinton. Or even Kate Middleton.

The new female co-pilot to watch? Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In Bloomberg today, 2011 Schwartz Fellow Christina Larson profiles Peng, a folk singer turned public health philanthropist who has transformed the role of First Lady in China:

“She has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Forbes’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013. “Peng Liyuan is the first First Lady in the PRC’s history,” says Cheng Li, a senior fellow and expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution. “We should not underestimate what she has already accomplished, or may be able to accomplish.” As first lady, Peng is also highly unusual in that she was known to the nation long before her husband—and is now being reintroduced.”

Read more here.