New trend: The wives of high officials throw themselves into public welfare work in keeping with the expectations of the international community
Beijing Youth Daily 北京青年报, November 4, 2013
Qian Wei, the wife of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, today appeared at an international charity bazaar in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park. She was there as a host of the event which aimed to raise money to fund the construction of water storage holes in impoverished mountainous areas of Yunnan province. During the event Qian Wei received much praise for displaying graceful bearing and showing affinity with the cause. She threw herself into the fundraising activities and lit up the charity work. Because of the international nature of the event, and against the backdrop of increasing importance being attributed to the power politics of soft power and public diplomacy, her actions carry profound meanings.
In Western countries, politician’s wives throw themselves into public welfare and charity work. It’s essentially a convention for their position. Amongst these wives there is no shortage of successful philanthropists and political activists. The wife of former US president Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor, is a clear example. The respect that she won in America and even internationally for her devotion to equal rights campaigns, was not inferior to that awarded to her presidential husband. These distinguished women not only provide their husband’s career with powerful support, they also have their own functions, and become a variable in domestic and international politics. Peng Liyuan, the wife of Xi Jinping, apart from bringing beauty to international visits, has also attracted the focus of international attention for her considerable activity in the charitable sector. By participating in charitable activities Qian Wei is perhaps sending out the signal that she is becoming China’s “Mrs Diplomacy” or “Mrs Politics”. This is in accordance with the expectations of the international community and evidence of China’s deeper international integration. [Translated from the first two paragraphs]
Translation by Tom Bannister. See Article for full text. (Chinese)