Xi Mingze: Who is Chinese president Xi Jinping’s daughter?
13 Jun, 2020 02:59 PM
She’s the only child of the world’s second most powerful leader – but unlike Ivanka Trump or Malia and Sasha Obama, few people even know Xi Mingze’s name.
Aside from a few basic biographical details, very little is known about the cherished daughter of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his second wife, famous folk singer Peng Liyuan.
The 27-year-old was born on June 27, 1992, and studied French at her high school, Hangzhou Foreign Languages School.
According to the China Times, she was nicknamed “Xiao Muzi” by her grandfather, Communist revolutionary and former state official Xi Zhongxun, “designating her as an innocent and decent person who is useful to society”.
She is “reputed to be a low-key and easygoing girl, who counts reading and fashion among her hobbies”, according to the brief 2012 profile in the Taiwanese newspaper.
The New Yorker
What Did China’s First Daughter Find in America?
April 06, 2015
On a sunny morning last May, a member of Harvard’s graduating class received her diploma and prepared to depart from campus as quietly as she had arrived. Xi Mingze—the only child of Xi Jinping, the President of China, and his wife, the celebrity soprano Peng Liyuan—crossed the podium at Adams House, the dorm that housed Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. She had studied psychology and English and lived under an assumed name, her identity known only to a limited number of faculty and close friends—“less than ten,” according to Kenji Minemura, a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun, who attended the commencement and wrote about Xi’s experience in America.
Xi Mingze was largely protected from press attention, much like the college-age children of other heads of state (legal proceedings excepted). Some offspring of other Chinese leaders have courted attention abroad, however. Before the former Politburo member Bo Xilai was imprisoned for corruption and his wife, Gu Kailai, jailed for murder, their son, Bo Guagua, invited Jackie Chan to Oxford, and sang with him onstage; he drove a Porsche during his time as a graduate student at Harvard. Xi, on the other hand, led a “frugal life” in Cambridge, according to Minemura. “She studied all the time,” he told me recently.
At twenty-two, Xi Mingze has now returned to China; though she makes few public appearances, she joined her parents on a recent trip to Yan’an, the rural region where her father was sent to work during the Cultural Revolution, when he was a teen-ager. In the magazine last week, I profiled Xi Jinping, and noted that he often says that his years in Yan’an, when he was the age that his daughter was at Harvard, made him into who he is as an adult: “Many of the fundamental ideas and qualities I have today were formed in Yan’an.”
For Chinese citizens, the effects of studying in the United States are rarely as simple as the cliché of coming home with wildly different ideas. Analyses of foreign students have found that Chinese citizens are more likely than others to stay in America. Ninety-two per cent of Chinese graduates remain in America five years after receiving a Ph.D., compared to forty-one per cent of South Koreans, according to a study by the National Science Foundation; the researchers loosely attributed the disparity to differences in family pressure and job opportunities. Going home doesn’t always feel easy, either. A 2009 survey, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, found that seventeen per cent of Chinese respondents considered it difficult to settle in the U.S.—but that twice as many, thirty-four per cent, reported difficulty going home, because of reverse culture shock, pollution, and other factors.
f Xi Mingze were to someday choose a public life, we may discover what she brought home to the dinner-table conversation. In the meantime, other Chinese citizens abroad have helped to complicate our understanding of democracy by osmosis. Earlier this year, a fascinating piece called “Patriotism Abroad,” published in the Journal of Studies in International Education, compiled the views of anonymous Chinese faculty and students living outside the country. A woman teaching in the natural sciences said, “In China, people often complain. But in America, I want to see the positive side of China. It has something to do with pride, you know; I want to feel proud to be Chinese.”
Evan Osnos is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of “Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.”Read more »