Tags: china | michelle obama | trip | costs

Chinese Online Critics: Our First Lady Tops America's

By Cathy Burke   |   Friday, 21 Mar 2014 09:25 PM

China's online consensus found Michelle Obama had lost the "battle of the first ladies" to her counterpart Peng Liyuan after the women met for the first time in Beijing, the Telegraph reported Friday.

“Our First Lady is so graceful and elegant, leaving Michelle far behind,” one critic wrote, according to the Telegraph. Another boasted, “We have won this time," while a third crowed, "Ours is more refined and eye-catching."

According to the Telegraph, the online critics praised Peng’s belted trouser suit, red earrings and clutch, though they were skeptical of her choice of high heels to walk through the Forbidden City.

But the digital crowd gave Michelle Obama points for embracing the nation's favored hobbies: ping pong, calligraphy and robot-building, the Telegraph reported.

The meeting was a first for China's first lady: No politician’s wife has ever hosted a visiting dignitary, the Telegraph reported.

“The last high profile politician’s wife we had was Madame Mao,” one government official told the newspaper. “And that did not turn out so well.” Jiang Qing, Chairman Mao’s fourth wife, was executed during the Cultural Revolution, the Telegraph noted.

“The US finds it hard to accept the Communism and nationalism of China, but can easily accept Chinese food, calligraphy and other culture,” Shen Dingli, the head of the U.S. Research Centre at Fudan university told the Telegraph.

“So after they have spent time together, eaten together and watched a show together, they will feel closer together and that may help the political process," adding: “The trip will have an imperceptible, gentle, mollifying effect."

But it also could revive outrage in the United States over the high travel costs incurred by President Barack Obama and his family during his time in office, including a trip to Africa by the president and first lady last June estimated to cost as much as $100 million and Michelle Obama's two-day jaunt to Ireland that same month that cost taxpayers $5 million.

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