According to Xiwang Zhisheng, Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan attended the Beijing Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony held at the Bird’s Nest Stadium on February 4 evening. 

Peng Liyuan followed Xi Jinping on the way out and entered before Li Keqiang and the other six Standing Committee members, which once again sparked discussions about Peng Liyuan’s political involvement.

Peng returned to the limelight in the second half of 2021, starting with her accompanying Xi Jinping to the National Games in Xi’an in September, attending the 2021 UNESCO Awards for Girls’ and Women’s Education by video.

Then, she congratulated the Juilliard School in Tianjin and ended with a written interview with the Courier as UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Girls’ and Women’s Education. 

The series of events was expected to build momentum for Xi’s re-election.

Peng is considered to be pushed to the forefront in the power infighting due to Xi’s lack of trusted political allies ahead of the CCP’s 20th National Congress.

Commentator Li Yanming analyzed Peng Liyuan’s appearance in his Yanming Time Commentary column during the sensitive period. 

Accordingly, he supposes that her appearance before and after the CCP’s 19th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session, and the second CCTV broadcast of Peng Liyuan’s interview with the Courier magazine, shows that Peng Liyuan tried to rank up her political position in the Party.

As Xi Jinping’s wife, her power position could be higher than the official status as a Member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Song Yongyi, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles, supposes that Peng Liyuan shows her first signs of political participation.

Song even believes that Xi Jinping has entered the cycle of Mao Zedong’s later years. Consequently, if Xi Jinping conducts a massive crackdown, he doesn’t trust anyone else except his wife and children. 

Besides Peng Liyuan’s appearance, Xi Jinping’s outfit also drew attention at the Beijing Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony. 

Compared with other guests on stage, Xi Jinping wore particularly heavy attire. 

According to political and economic scholar Chen Baokong, the rostrum must be equipped with heating devices, and Xi does not simply protect himself from the cold. Xi Jinping may be wearing a bulletproof vest under his coat, reflecting Xi’s unease in the current fierce infighting. 

The opening ceremony’s official video shows the audience’s front row was seated by armed police in black clothes. However, the audience at the opening ceremony was sparse. 

The audience is also requested to be screened beforehand, requiring both tickets and identification. The heating pad and cell phones were prohibited from the venue. 

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