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米歇尔访华:中美第一夫人风格对比

Michelle Obama's visit to China will highlight contrast in styles of first ladies

中国日报网 2014-03-24 10:33

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米歇尔访华:中美第一夫人风格对比
第一夫人时尚比拼:彭丽媛vs米歇尔·奥巴马

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They share plenty of common ground, even beyond the stylish outfits and the proximity to power. Both grew up in modest circumstances, and both have daughters. They're nearly the same age.

Yet when Michelle Obama, 50, arrives in China on Thursday to meet her 51-year-old Chinese counterpart Peng Liyuan, the two will also make a fascinating study in contrasts. If Obama's narrative is one of resilience, Peng's is one of restraint.

Obama will arrive in Beijing with her daughters Sasha and Malia, and her mother Marian Robinson, for a week of sightseeing and speeches about people-to-people exchange. Peng will accompany her during a visit to a Beijing school, a dinner and a performance. Obama will address American and Chinese students at the prestigious Peking University and then head south for a whirlwind tour through the cities of Xi'an and Chengdu.

When Obama's predecessors Laura Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton visited China during their husbands' tenures, they grilled its leadership on difficult political topics such as human rights. Obama plans to focus on education and cultural exchange, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters on Monday.

Yet Obama's personal narrative – one of "someone [from] a disadvantaged economic background from a minority group" making it to the top – would send a powerful message on its own, Rhodes said. "That alone I think speaks to things like respect for human rights that are interwoven into the DNA of the US."

Peng scaled the heights of fame long before her husband, President Xi Jinping. She spent two decades as a nationally renowned folksinger, known for belting out patriotic tunes on elaborate television specials. She began to dodge the limelight in 2007, to give precedence to Xi's political career.

Last March, Peng sent shockwaves through Chinese social media when she appeared with Xi in Moscow wearing a sharp trench coat and handbag.

One fan – a 34-year-old woman named Li who started a popular Peng Liyuan fan group online – described her hero as humble, friendly, and glamorous.

"Her influence means far more now than it could if she was just a singer," she said. "She gives our people face – and she not only has traditional beauty, but also international charm."

While Sasha and Malia Obama frequently appear in the US press, Peng's 21-year-old daughter Xi Mingze, who pseudonymously enrolled at Harvard University in 2010, is shrouded in a cloak of official secrecy. Even the notoriously prying Mail on Sunday was unable to discover much about her in a 2012 profile – "she's a bookworm, very quiet and studious", an acquaintance told the paper. She's under constant protection by bodyguards, and she rarely parties.

Peng was born in Yuncheng, a rural county in coastal Shandong Province, in 1962. Her mother was a singer, and her father was a cultural bureaucrat, former neighbours told the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. She joined the People's Liberation Army at 18 as a civilian. By 1986, when she met her future husband Xi Jinping on a blind date, she was already a renowned soprano; he was a mid-level provincial official.

While the tradition of a "first lady" isn't new to China, it's been long dormant. Sun Yatsen (a revolutionary who toppled the Qing Dynasty in 1911), Chiang Kai-Shek (China's top leader throughout much of the 1940s), and Liu Shaoqi (a head of state under Mao), all had glamorous wives who accompanied them on international trips.

"In the US, women enjoy equal rights as men in politics," said Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai. "But in Chinese traditional culture, we have a saying: 'a woman without talent is virtuous'." While female Chinese business leaders are common, he said, women barely appear at the highest levels of the country's political elite – only two rank among its 25 top officials.

Yet Li, the fan club founder, has more pressing concerns – namely, whether Peng will sing for Obama. "We hope that some time, Mama Peng will come out to sing for the public," she said. "We'd like to meet [her] someday."

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据《卫报》报道,两位第一夫人在时髦的着装和巨大的影响力之外,还有很多相同之处。她们都在平凡的环境中成长,都有女儿,还差不多同龄。

但是,3月20日50岁的米歇尔·奥巴马到达中国会见51岁的彭丽媛,还是让人忍不住做一个有趣的对比研究。如果用善于应变来形容米歇尔,彭丽媛的关键词则应该是克制。

米歇尔将带着两个女儿及母亲访华,进行一周的观光,做些交流性的讲话。彭丽媛将会陪同她参观北京的一所学校,一起吃晚餐,看演出。米歇尔将在著名的北京大学为中美学子演讲,然后去西安和成都参观。

战略沟通的国家安全顾问代理说,前两任美国第一夫人劳拉·布什和希拉里·罗德海姆·克林顿访华时,她们会提到一些政治问题,比如人权。而米歇尔则要着重教育和文化交流。

但是他还说道,米歇尔的个人经历——从一个贫困的黑人女孩奋斗为美国上流社会的顶尖人物——将会传递强大的能量,本身就能说明尊重人权根植于美国的基因里等等。

彭丽媛在习近平主席出名前便享有盛名。二十多年来都是中国知名的民俗歌唱家,经常在著名电视节目上演唱。2007年以后,为了丈夫的政治生涯,她渐渐淡出人们的视线。

去年3月,在和习近平主席出访莫斯科的公开露面中,她优雅的着装和搭配立刻在中国收到社交媒体的热捧。

34岁的李女士曾在网上建立了彭丽媛粉丝群,她这样评价自己的偶像:谦逊、友善、迷人。

她说:“她现在的影响力比之前当歌唱家大多了,她给我们中国人民赢来了面子——不仅有传统美,还有国际魅力。”

米歇尔的两个女儿常常出现在美国媒体上,但是彭丽媛21岁的女儿习明泽,2010年被哈佛大学录取,一直受到官方的保护。甚至连著名的窥探媒体《周日邮报》都无法打探到她的消息。一位朋友说,她很爱学习,很安静很用功。平时有保镖保护,很少参加聚会。

彭丽媛1962年出生在山东省郓城县,母亲是歌唱家,父亲是位文化官员。18岁参军,1986年在一次相亲时遇到了现在的丈夫习近平,那时他已经是有名的女高音歌唱家,而习近平当时是位省级官员。

对中国来说,“第一夫人”已有一段历史。孙中山(1911年领导辛亥革命推翻清政府),蒋介石(20世纪40年代中国国民党领导人)和刘少奇(主席),他们进行国际访问时,都有迷人的妻子陪伴。

上海复旦大学国际关系学院的教授沈丁立说:“在美国,女性在政治上和男性享有同等的权利。但是在中国的传统文化中却有句名言 '女子无才便是德'。尽管有很多成功的中国女商人,但是在中国政坛的最高领导层上,几乎没有女性。25位最高官员中,只有2名女性。”

但是对于那位创建了粉丝团的女粉丝来说,她有很急切的担心,那就是,彭丽媛在本次会面时是否会为米歇尔唱歌。“我们希望有一天,彭丽媛能再回来为公众唱歌,我们希望见到她。”

(译者 张紫燕 编辑 丹妮)

 

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