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Xi Mingze, China¿s new 'first daughter 'attends Harvard under a pseudonym and is protected by Chinese officials'

// UK
  • Xi Jinping took over this week as party general secretary in China's second orderly power transfer in 63 years
  • Wife Peng Liyuan is far more famous as a syrup-voiced star of folk music
  • They have one child, daughter Xi Mingze, who goes to Harvard
  • She is described as studious and low key and joined a sorority

By Matt Blake and Beth Stebner

PUBLISHED: 00:00 EST, 15 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:59 EST, 17 November 2012

He has just become the most powerful military leader-elect to the most populous country in the world, and yet there are details that remain unknown about China’s new president, Xi Jinpig.

While it is known is that he is married to the honey-voiced megastar of popular Chinese folk music, Peng Liyuan, and they have only one child together, details of their daughter’s life are few and far between.

Their 20-year-old daughter, Xi Mingze, is currently attending Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, though little is known about China’s new First Daughter.

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Power couple: China's new president Xi Jinping is married to Peng Liyuan, the syrup-voiced megastar of popular Chinese folk music

The new first couple's only child, daughter Xi Mingze, is rumored to be a student at Harvard University

Ms Xi reportedly transferred to Harvard two years ago and is surrounded by Chinese security at all times

Ms Xi reportedly transferred to Harvard two years ago and is surrounded by Chinese security at all times

New home: Kappa Alpha Theta sorority's house is seen on the Harvard campus where she is said to often study

New home: Kappa Alpha Theta sorority's house is seen on the Harvard campus where she is said to often study

It is believed that Ms Xi has been studying at the Ivy League school since transferring in two years ago after going to school in China.

She studies under a pseudonym so as not to attract undue attention.

THE PEONY FAIRY: FROM SHOWBIZ SUPERSTAR TO CHINA'S FIRST LADY

  • Born in 1962, Peng Liyuan is a Chinese folk singer and actress
  • She has been married to Xi Jinping for 25 years with whom she has a daughter, Xi Mingze, 20
  • The couple are said to have met through friends in the mid 1980s
  • Nicknamed The Peony Fairy, she has graced television screens in China for more than a decade, her honeyed tones punctuating state-run TV shows and Communist Party rallies
  • She is best known for her propagandist ballads including Plains of Hope and People From Our Village
  • She joined the People's Liberation Army aged 18 and rose to the civilian rank of major-general, a post she still holds
  • She has performed all over the world, including, New York, Tokyo and Vienna
  • In June 2011, she was even appointed World Health Organisation Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis

It is rumored that she is surrounded by a staff of Chinese bodyguards 24 hours a day.

The Washington Post reported last May that she joined Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and is described by peers at the school as 'studious and discreet.'

She often studies at the sorority house and speaks with unaccented English.

Her name, Mingze, denotes innocence and ‘moral probity,’ Asia Time noted in 2007, speaking of how Xi’s ascent into China’s highest office could see a sort of parallel to the White House in terms of a father showing affection for his wife and children.

She isn’t the only progeny of China’s political leaders to attend the American institution. Bo Guagua, the only son of embattled politician Bo Xilai, also attended the institution and had a playboy ‘princeling’ reputation while at the school.

Ms Peng has become China's first high-profile political spouse since Jiang Qing, the late wife of Chairman Mao Zedong.

Her huge success in the entertainment industry has run alongside her staunch loyalty to the Communist Party.

She joined the People's Liberation Army aged 18 and rose to the rank of major-general, a post she still holds.

But when her superiors discovered her talent for singing, she began touring army bases serenading troops in a program designed to boost morale.

The Peony Fairy: Ms Peng had graced television screens in the world's most populous country for more than a decade, her honeyed tones punctuating state-run TV shows and Communist Party rallies

The Peony Fairy: Ms Peng had graced television screens in the world's most populous country for more than a decade, her honeyed tones punctuating state-run TV shows and Communist Party rallies

The new team: He and the six other men who will form China's new collective leadership, all dressed in dark suits, walked in line onto the red-carpeted stage

The new team: He and the six other men who will form China's new collective leadership, all dressed in dark suits, walked in line onto the red-carpeted stage. (L-R) Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan.

Get used to this face: Xi's inaugural address as the country's new leader was broadcast on giant screens across China. Here, above a McDonald's in Beijing

Get used to this face: Xi's inaugural address as the country's new leader was broadcast on giant screens across China. Here, above a McDonald's in Beijing

From there her rise to fame was meteoric. She is best known for performing at CCTV's New Year's Gala - a show watched by hundreds of millions of people throughout China - almost every year since its inception in 1982.

Almost all of her songs are in praise of the Communist Party and frequently appears on state television to sing propagandist ballads with names including Plains of Hope and People From Our Village.

In June 2011, she was even appointed World Health Organisation Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis.

She has also shied away from appearing in public with her husband or talking about their relationship until recently, fuelling speculation that she may take a more active role in his presidency than any of her predecessors.

New leader: Xi Jinping became China's new leader Thursday, assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military

New leader: Xi Jinping became China's new leader Thursday, assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military


Hall of the People: The announcement was rubber stamped as the final day of the week-long congress drew to a close in the Great Hall of the People

Hall of the People: The announcement was rubber stamped as the final day of the week-long congress drew to a close in the Great Hall of the People

Hello and goodbye: Li Keqiang, left, also is due to take over from Wen Jiabao, right, as premier

In a rare interview in 2007, she told a state-run magazine: 'When he comes home, I’ve never thought of it as though there’s some leader in the house.

HOW XI JINPING WENT FROM IMPOVERISHED CAVE DWELLER TO CHINA'S MOST POWERFUL MAN

Very little is known about Xi Jinping's upbringing - or his rise to power.

He is married to a popstar called Peng Liyuan who, for most of Xi's career, has been more famous than him.

Chinese often tell a well-known joke: 'Who is Xi Jinping? Why, he is the husband of Peng Liyuan.'

He is the son of Communist revolutionary general Xi Zhongxun, a comrade of Chairman Mao.

But when he was in his teens, his father fell out with the Chairman and was sent to prison.

Xi was exiled to a far-flung, rural community of Liangjiahe, in Shaanxi province, where he lived in cave-dwellings and was forced to labour in the fields.

Little more than 100 miles from Beijing, it is one of China's poorest regions.

The family lived like peasants in a cave-like house carved out of the yellow rock formations that surrounded the village.

He is quoted as saying no problems he has encountered in political life compare to the hardship he suffered as a young man.

After leaving Liangjiahe, Xi headed to the busy coastal provinces that form China's industrial heartland.

He quickly climbed the ranks to become the most senior party official first in Fujian, before Zhejiang and finally Shanghai.

There he developed the mind for business and economics that he is known for today.

Now with exports and the economy slowing, China hopes his skills can help get the nation back on track to overtaking America and becoming the biggest economy in the world.

'In my eyes, he’s just my husband. When I get home, he doesn’t think of me as some famous star. In his eyes, I’m simply his wife.'

But while hers is still one of the most famous faces in the country, comparatively little is known of her husband, a man who spent most of his teens living in a cave, labouring in the fields of one of China's poorest regions.

He is the son of Communist revolutionary general Xi Zhongxun, a comrade of Chairman Mao.

But when he was in his teens, his father fell out with the Chairman and was sent to prison.

Xi was exiled to a far-flung, rural community of Liangjiahe, in Shaanxi province, where he lived in cave-dwellings and was forced to labour in the fields. Little more than 100 miles from Beijing, it is one of China's poorest regions.

The family lived like peasants in a cave-like house carved out of the yellow rock formations that surrounded the village.

He is quoted as saying no problems he has encountered in political life compare to the hardship he suffered as a young man.

But he immersed himself in local politics and soon rose the ranks before today assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military in a political transition unbowed by scandals, a slower economy and public demands for reforms.

Xi was introduced as the new party general secretary at Beijing's Great Hall of the People a day after the close of a week-long party congress that underlined the communists' determination to remain firmly in power.

The once-a-decade leadership change was carefully choreographed. It became clear Xi would lead China five years ago, when he was appointed to the Standing Committee - the nation's apex of power - as the highest-ranked member who would not be of retirement age this year.

Xi's colleagues in the new Standing Committee are Li Keqiang, the presumptive premier and chief economic official; Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang; Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengsheng; propaganda chief Liu Yunshan; Vice Premier Wang Qishan; and Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli.

In a speech broadcast live on Chinese state TV and worldwide, Xi said, 'We shall do everything we can to live up to your trust and fulfill our mission.'


 

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