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Weibo fans applauded Peng Liyuan's AIDS PSA video

Peng Liyuan, China's first lady, appeared in a promotional activity in Beijing for the World AIDS Day on December 1, where a 7-minute charity video featuring her and a group of AIDS children named Forever Together was released. CCTV, China Central Television also featured her in its Public Service Ad for the World AIDS Day. It was Peng's first public appearance since the 18th CPC National Congress where her husband Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of CPC.

Peng Liyuan with the AIDS children at the promotional activity for the World AIDS Day on Dec 1 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

In the touching short video, Peng, who has been the Minister of Health Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Prevention since January 2006 and WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS since 2011, was seen playing the piano, painting and having fun with the HIV-infected children who came to Beijing from across China to film this video as part of an "anti-discrimination" campaign calling for people's care and love for the AIDS-affected group, particularly children. She also sang the theme song People Who Love you in the video.

An 11-year-old boy called Gao Jun from Fuyang, Anhui, whom Peng has been in touch with regularly since 2006 was the star of the video. When asked who he likes to be with the most, he listed Peng as his Number One choice, who he called "Mother Peng".

In a clip from the promotional video Forever Together, Gao Jun tied a scarf with the Red Ribbon pattern on Peng Liyuan's wrist, who he calls "Mother Peng". Photo:

Peng has been a keen participator for all kinds of AIDS prevention programs. In 2006, shortly after she became Minister of Health Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Prevention, she went to Fuyang, Gao Jun's home town, to visit the children at the local Relief Association for AIDS Children in Poverty where she met Gao Jun.

In the short interview in the clip, Peng said she was pleased to see the change in these children, particularly in Gao Jun, who wouldn't even look people in the eye when she first met him. "He's taller; his complexion is nicer; but the most noticeable change is in his heart. He has a healthy and fine mentality now. Look how much they all have changed!" Peng said. In answer to the question of how long she wishes to work for the Red Ribbon project, she said, "I want to continue for as long as they need me. I hope all these children who are affected by AIDS can have a bright future."

Shots of the children's bright smiles accompanied by the melody slightly melancholic yet upbeat at the same time, tugged at the viewers' heart. It was not just tears that the video elicited, there was laughter too. The children were asked to name one of their favorite words. A little boy, no more than 10 years old, hmmed for 2 seconds before answering, truthfully, "Snacks". Towards the end of the video, the interviewer, unseen in the video, asked the children whether they'll meet again in thirty years' time, the same little boy chuckled and said, "But I don't know where to find you!" Gao Jun was the last one to answer this question. Looking straight to the camera, he said "Forever", then smiled and finished his sentence: "Forever together", which was the name of the short video. 

December 2, Sina's official Weibo Top News posted the video online. The Weibo users responded unanimously well to the video. Many also expressed their like and support for Peng Liyuan in their comments.

@ Yi Jiezhong(易介中):I have to say, it (the video) is surprisingly well done. China has changed hugely.

@ Stone from deep sea (深海的石): Touching and inspiring.

@ Faraway Southern Sky (遥远的南方天空): I hope we could truly walk On the Plains of Hope. (Note: On the Plains of Hope is one of Peng's most famous songs.)

@ Danran_81(淡然_81): (She has a) beautiful image and nice disposition. (She is) also an outstanding example of the Chinese woman.

@ Snow falls at Xiacheng (雪落夏城): Hard work makes a country prosper.

@ Tailong AG (泰龙AG): The video is so genuine and warming. Love Peng Liyuan.

@ Xi Juzi you(小菊子哟): Love you, support you.


Editor's Note: The concept of First Lady is still new to the Chinese, who often half-jokingly refers to the wife of its leader as "the Nation's mother". In this video, Peng showed her motherly side in the most endearing way: she sang with the AIDS children, played football with them, and tied their shoelaces. Having been in the public eye for decades because of her singing career, she was no stranger to the camera. Her presence in the video was genuine and heartfelt. A nice first appearance and a nice change of role for China's first lady!

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