Photo of China's first lady serenading Tiananmen troops flickers across cyberspace
BEIJING (AP) - A photo of China's new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to troops following the 1989 Tiananmen military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace this week.
It was swiftly scrubbed from China's Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image - seen and shared by outside observers - revived memories the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Ms Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China.
The country has no recent precedent for the role of first lady and faces a tricky balance at home. The leadership wants Ms Peng to show the human side of the new No. 1 leader, Mr Xi Jinping, while not exposing too many perks of the elite. And it must balance popular support for the first couple with an acute wariness of personality cults that could skew the consensus rule among the Chinese Communist Party's top leaders.
The image of Ms Peng, wearing a green military uniform, her windswept hair tied back in a ponytail as she sings to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in rows on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, contrasts with her appearances this week in trendy suits and coiffed hair while touring Russia and Africa with Mr Xi, waving to her enthusiastic hosts.