Peng Liyuan: Biography of The First High-Profile First Lady in China

Peng Liyuan is famous not just in China, but all over the world. She was first known to be an amazing performer– she is an opera actress and a folk singer. Peng had more fame after she married, Xi Jinping. But, she is more than just a wife, she is an advocate. Let us know more about her and the life that she lives.

Full Name Peng Liyuan (彭丽媛)
Birthdate November 20, 1962
Birthplace Linyi, Shandong, China
Age 57
Nationality Chinese
Mother Not disclosed
Father Not disclosed
Spouse Xi Jinping (married 1987)
Career Profession Opera actress; Folksinger; Professor; Health promoter
Notable Roles Spouse of the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China (2012)
Spouse of the President of China (2013)
President of the People’s Liberation Army Arts College (2017)
Height 5 feet 5 inches
Weight 55 kilograms
Net Worth Est. $ 1 million


Peng Liyuan

Peng Liyuan, is now known to be a social activist and health advocate. But, before she became one, she was a brilliant performing artist and a contemporary folk singer. When you here Peng’s name in China, she is referred to be the first Chinese First Lady, as she is the wife of Xi Jinping, the current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Peng rose to fame as she had regular appearances being a brilliant performing artist. She had regular appearances and won several awards in singing competitions. By the year 2014, Peng Liyuan is known to be the 57th Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes.

Early Years of Peng Liyuan

There is not much information about the early childhood years of Peng. She was born on November 20, 1962, in Linyi, Shandong, China. More so, no information disclosed about her family except that they were persecuted at the Cultural Revolution. It was speculated that Peng’s father was a counter-revolutionary and some of her relatives served the army of the Taiwanese.

Peng was at the age of 14 when she was studying at the Shandong University of Arts, it is where she had her vocational training about folk arts and specialized in Chinese folk songs.

Career Track of Peng Liyuan

Early Career

Peng Liyuan started her career as early as the age of 18. She became a part of the People’s Liberation Army, and perform songs to boost the troop’s morale. It was also the time when she was one of the first people to receive a Master’s in the traditional ethnic music of China. When she performed at the protest for the Sino-Vietnamese conflict, Peng had the reputation of becoming the ‘arts and cultural warrior’.

She rose to fame overnight as she performs regularly on television. She annually holds a national performance at the CCTV New Year’s Gala. Thus, she had the opportunity to travel and perform overseas in Vienna, New York, and Tokyo.

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Political Career

During her early career, Peng was a performer for the Communist Party. She sings propaganda songs like People from Our Village and Plains of Hope. Most of her songs revolve around the ideologies and principles of the Communist party. After this, she became a Major General of China’s People’s Liberation Army and was appointed to be the dean of the Art Academy.

After she married Xi Jinping, Peng became more famous as the politician’s wife, yet she continues to perform as an artist. It was in 2012 when she was chosen for a position at the General Secretary of Communist Party. A year after, she became the First Lady of China.

Her shows slowed down, and she only performs for political events. But, she is still a regular at the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala. As Peng became more active in politics, she became a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Furthermore, she became an ambassador and advocate for health.

Peng Liyuan and her husband, Xi Jinping
Peng Liyuan and her husband, Xi Jinping, the President of the Republic of China

Marriage of Peng Liyuan and Xi Jinping

Peng is married to one of the most powerful people in the world, Xi Jinping. He is the 9th President of the Republic of China. They met in 1980 when their common friend introduced them to each other. Xi was persistent during their courtship, which turned out that their relationship was accepted by the Liyuan family.

They both exchanged their wedding vows on September 1, 1987. Up to this date, they are both happily married together. Their love for each other bears a daughter, Xi Mingze in 1992.

But, the couples live separately because of their work’s nature. Peng spends most of her time in Beijing while Xi is in Fujian.

Salary, Income, and Net Worth of Liyuan

Peng started her career in the People’s Liberation Army, she was an ordinary soldier. But, with her talent in singing, she performed as the frontline to boost the troop’s morale during the conflict of the Sno-Vietnamese border. It was in 1982 when she performed On the Plains of Hope for the New Year’s Gala of CCTV. Since then, appeared to different channels to sing propaganda songs. In the later part, she became the wife of China’s president, Xi Jinping. To this year, Peng Liyuan’s net worth is estimated between $100,000 to $1 million.

Peng Liyuan at her advocacies
Peng Liyuan at her advocacies

Peng Liyuan’s Major Works, Awards, and Achievements

Before Peng became the First Lady of China, she is most known to be a beautiful melodic singer in China. She is a singer, social activist, and politician. As an amusing singer, Peng religiously performs annually for the New Year’s Gala of CCTV since 1982. Her political works are in the limelight as she was known to be a professional artist.

Peng Liyuan received a couple of awards and achievements. In December 2011, she received the first Chinese Arts awards along with 22 other people and a 1 million yuan or $159,800 prize.

By November 2014, Peng was given an Honorary Doctorate by the Massey University of New Zealand. It was in recognition of her international contributions to arts, education, and health.

But, all of her contributions were summed up when she was listed as the 57th Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

Controversies and Criticism Involving Peng Liyuan

In 1989, after the protest at Tiananmen Square, Peng sang for the troops of martial law. There was a photo where she wore a military green uniform, and she sang to the rifle-bearing and helmeted troops seating at the first rows of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The photo was quickly deleted from the Internet of China before it harbors malicious comments from the public. But, the photo has already been seen and shared by the public. It brought back the memories of the leadership suppression. The photo of Peng Liyuan singing became a back cover of the People’s Liberation Army Pictorial of the 1898 issue, which became available to the public.

The allegations of Peng Liyuan that she sang in support of the Chinese military troops in the protest in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 put a strain on their relationship with Michelle Obama. In June 2013, the magazine of American Foreign Policy contains an article entitled Why Michelle Obama Shouldn’t Meet With Peng Liyuan. The article approved the choice not to meet Peng. But, Peng and Michelle Obama still met in several publicized tours in Washington, DC, and Beijing.

Peng Liyuan with her daughter, Xi Mingze

Facts about Peng Liyuan

  • Peng Liyuan is the first high-profile first lady in China after the wife of Chairman Mao, Jiang Qing.
  • Peng has a heart for the people. She encourages education in the rural parts of China and leads a campaign against HIV, AIDS, and tuberculosis in partnership with the World Health Organization.
  • It was in July 2018 when she had a meeting with the director-general of UNESCO. They discussed the promotion of international female education.
  • Peng is willing to have a greater contribution to the World Health Organization for the 2030 Sustainable Goals on health.
  • Aside from her greatness as a leader, Peng was a famous artist. She sings folk and at the opera, and an actress before she married Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

People May Ask

We have gathered some frequently asked questions from people who are curious about things related to Peng Liyuan and the happenings in her life.

Who is Xi Jinping’s wife?

Xi Jinping has a failed marriage before Peng Liyuan. He was married to Ke Lingling, the youngest daughter of Ke Hua, the former ambassador to Britain. But, they did not last long. Their marriage only lasted for three years, and she moved to Britain. In 1987, Xi Jinping married Peng Liyuan, a former famous artist. Now, Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan are considered to be a powerful couple.

How does Peng Liyuan look like?

Peng has a white complexion that complements well with her black color eyes and hair. She stands 5 feet and 5 inches tall and weighs 55 kilograms.

Does Xi Jinping have a son?

No, Xi Jinping had a daughter with Peng Liyuan. Her name is Xi Mingze with a nickname of Xiao Muzi. She is the only child of the folk singer and the paramount leader of China.