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Peng: China’s new challenge

She’s a glamourous singer with big hair, beloved by millions, and a major general in the People's Liberation Army to boot. He's a stiff policymaker.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2010 00:35 IST

She’s a glamourous singer with big hair, beloved by millions, and a major general in the People's Liberation Army to boot. He's a stiff policymaker. Vice President Xi Jinping is in line to take the country's top post in two years, setting up an unusual scenario: In a system where leaders' families are kept almost invisible, how will the ruling Communist Party handle a first lady who's arguably more famous than her husband?

So far, the answer appears to be by making her disappear too. References to Xi's marriage to Peng Liyuan are being scrubbed from the Internet. She has been given a desk job at her military song-and-dance troupe, reducing her public appearances.

Interest in the couple was renewed last month after Xi was appointed to a committee overseeing the Chinese military, boosting the likelihood he will lead the Communist Party in 2012.