A politician, his wife, and a tennis star join the likes of Jay-Z, Bryan Cranston and Kim Jong-un as the only Chinese citizens on Time’s annual list of 100 most influential people in the world. (Ahem, “world.”) You probably can guess, but the three are Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan, and Li Na. Here are snippets of their profiles:
On Xi Jinping, by Henry Kissinger:
Xi is convinced his generation’s hardships gave it the strength to face the challenges of adapting China to the consequences of its success. He has put forward a sweeping reform program designed to move millions to the cities, streamline bureaucracy, reorient the economy away from state-owned enterprises and fight corruption.
On Peng Liyuan, by Hannah Beech:
Now her clothes make headlines. While rich Chinese favor Western brands, Peng pointedly wore domestic labels on her tour. She’s bringing glamour to Made in China.
On Li Na, by Chris Evert:
Li Na is a maverick. Who else would stand up to the centralized Chinese sports system as Li did, back in 2008, when she pushed for more control over her career? Li persuaded the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) to start the “fly alone” policy, which gives players more independence. Now they keep more of their money, giving just a fraction of their earnings to the CTA, compared with the bulk before.
Also making it is Taiwanese American Kai-Fu Lee, who Dai Xu, that crazy Chinese colonel, recently accused of being an American spy. Arianna Huffington thinks Lee’s is a “universal story — of striving for freedom (online and off), of the power of technology to circumvent the status quo and of an individual’s potential to create new opportunities that benefit not only himself and his community but the wider world.” Yup, spy.
(H/T Martin M.)
The President of China as influential as Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake??
No way, Time! No way!
My graduate students here in Shenyang are besotted with Peng Liyuan. The reason? “She is promoting Chinese clothing to the world,” they say.
If their reactions are any indication, the distinction between “Chinese clothing” and “Chinese-made Western clothing” seems to have been elided amidst all the hype.
I’m still waiting for the First Lady rock a qipao, preferably with a very high side slit. That’s the kind of “Chinese clothing” I can really get behind!
No, no. Something more hanfu-y than qipao-ish, please. Now, I’m not an especially strident supporter of the hanfu movement (because, dammit, these kids treat it like cosplay, and oh, oh, the anachronisms!), but hanfu seems more regal and befitting a first lady. Qipao, unless it’s magnificently tailored, is probably going to make me think of a Chinatown waitress… or possibly Nicole Kidman…
I’m waiting for Peng Liyuan to wear something by Guo Pei. That lady really knows how to design a dress.
Does Xi have a personal stylist (or mechanic) de-grease and shampoo that shellac helmet at night and then completely re-apply it again EVERY…SINGLE…DAY??
Don’t know about the qipao. I remember when Lucy Liu was in Beijing filming Kill Bill, she wore a qipao to the bar Neo Lounge. Some guy mistook her for a waitress and asked her to bring him some beers in rather rude Chinese. She was not so happy.