China's First Lady Peng Liyuan was in Hong Kong for 2004 and 2007 handover celebrations

Ms Peng Liyuan (in pink) performing in the finale of HKSAR 10th anniversary celebration event, on June 30, 2007.
Ms Peng Liyuan (in pink) performing in the finale of HKSAR 10th anniversary celebration event, on June 30, 2007. PHOTO: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
China's First Lady Peng Liyuan looks at Chinese President Xi Jinping upon their arrival, in front of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam (back left), in Hong Kong.
China's First Lady Peng Liyuan looks at Chinese President Xi Jinping upon their arrival, in front of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam (back left), in Hong Kong.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - A decade ago, President Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan, a well-known soprano, was also in Hong Kong for the handover celebrations.

It was the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, a key anniversary for both Beijing and the former British colony. At that time, she was a performer at an anniversary concert, singing Hong Kong's Night with Moonlight, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

"People say blood is thicker than water, we treasure the sweetness of being together," the song went. "We praise the full moon in Hong Kong."

At the end of the concert, she was joined by then president Hu Jintao and others on stage to sing Ode to the Motherland.

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Madam Peng also took part in the 2004 handover celebrations, according to local media. She and China's other famous singers like Song Zuying and Yan Weiwen performed at a gala show at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

She sang the famous tune My Motherland, a moving tale of a Chinese soldier fighting for his country and pining for his home and family.

 

This year, Madam Peng, 54, will again be participating in the handover celebrations, but she has since taken on a different identity - China's First Lady.

Madam Peng, who was dressed in a high-collared striped jacket with matching knee-length skirt, arrived in Hong Kong at noon on Thursday. She is accompanying her husband on his first trip to Hong Kong since he became president in 2003.

The couple will be attending a variety show on Friday evening at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

She will also be meeting residents of an old folks' home on Friday.

In 1999, Madam Peng, a singer who seldom gives interviews, was featured in a talk show on Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

Asked by host Dou Wentao whether her then lesser-known husband would always be introduced as Peng Liyuan's spouse, she replied coolly: "If you marry someone who has a successful career, is very ambitious and is excellent and who can master you, then (people) won't think that way."

When the host pressed her on whether she had found a successful person.

"I feel you don't need to ask me this question," she said. "I have been married to him for more than 10 years. You just think, he must be successful. That's why I am filled with happiness."

The couple married in 1987.