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China's Social Web Fawns Over First Lady

China's fashionable first lady Peng Liyuan has not only made the front cover of newspapers home and abroad, but also has attracted a hardcore following on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo.

Just like her husband Xi Jinping's fan club, these first lady fan clubs devoted to Peng have chronicled the comings and goings of her foreign tour as well as published pictures and videos of her past as a popular singer. Within just a few days, the sites have attracted thousands of followers.

These sites, unlike news coverage of Peng, tend to be of a more personal and funny tone. One page, “Liyuan Fan Club“[zh], commented on Peng's fashion style:

"Ms Xi fans Club" on Weibo

“Ms Xi fans Club” on Weibo

枚红色,靓蓝,总有你喜欢的色彩。

Red or blue, there's always a color you like.

Another site called “China Support Yuan club” [zh] records details of Yuan's life with entertaining and engaging comments.

One Weibo user “Linchun Hongtongxiao” joked:

我的天,第一夫人的粉丝团完爆习大大的@学习粉丝团 啊, 据不完全统计: @学习爱媛 @学媛派第一夫人 @中国后媛团 @丽媛粉丝团 @习太粉丝团 简直了,媳妇儿还得娶漂亮的啊。。

My god, “Learn from Yuan”, “Learn from the First Lady Yuan”, “China Supports Yuan Club”, “Liyuan Fan Club”, “Mrs. Xi Club”…..our first lady has got a lot more fan clubs than Xi himself, looks like one has to marry a pretty wife after all..

HK media believed [zh] the fan clubs on Weibo has a positive effect on politics:

粉丝团的出现某种程度上反过来又推动了民间关注和热议政治的高潮。

To some extent, the appearance of the fan clubs in return has helped bring the public's attention to politics, and also helped promote discussions about politics.

While Peng's stylish homegrown outfits are believed to help promote local designs, HK media analyzed that it also reflects China's more open attitude towards diplomacy:

这一变化,某种程度上也反映了中国外交和政治语境的不断开放和中国政府公关理念的进步。

The change, to some extent, also reflects that China is adopting a more open attitude towards diplomacy and that Chinese government has made progress in public relations.

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