Song Zuying in Taiwan

China’s new empress

Song Zuying in Taiwan

Major General Song Zuying, reportedly the favourite singer of former president Jiang Zemin, had a very busy Mothers’ Day. Forget parade ground drills and overnight marches: General Song, a soprano, was in Taiwan for her debut solo performance on the island.

WiC has written about Song before (confusingly, she is actually a Rear-Admiral, see WiC46). But in this particular instance her trip to Taiwan focused only on music. Nonetheless many saw it as a propaganda-fest, with Song performing 21 songs, including the classic Praise Coral, a patriotic number about the Communists defeating the Kuomintang in 1949, and Mother, You are So Great, which is said to allude to Taiwan’s duty to embrace the motherland in reunification.

Like Kate Middleton’s wedding dress a week or two earlier, Song’s wardrobe became the most discussed element of the event. Most online reviews were far from favourable, although one thing that Song did share with the new Duchess of Cambridge, critics agreed, were royal pretensions. New Weekly said Song’s over-the-top costume made her look like the Empress Wu Zetian, a controversial figure from the Tang Dynasty. In fact, her gown was said to be so heavy that two helpers were needed to walk Song onstage. Kate made do just with Pippa!

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