(Andrew Jacobs’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/16.)

BEIJING — Peng Liyuan, China’s most enduring pop-folk icon, is beloved for her glass-cracking soprano and her ability to take on such roles as a coquettish Tibetan yak herder, a lovelorn imperial courtesan, even a stiff-lipped major general — which in fact she is.

But as the nation begins to absorb the reality that its newly anointed top leader, Xi Jinping, is coming to office with a wife who happens to be a big-haired brassy diva known for her striking figure, palace watchers are daring to ask the question: has China’s Carla Bruni-Sarkozy moment finally arrived?


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