First Lady Michelle Obama is traveling in China and on Saturday, at the Summer Palace in Bejing, she met with a group of students who attend middle school in northwest suburban Arlington Heights.
Overviews on Mrs. Obama’s trip, which she is making with daughters Malia, Sasha and her mom, Marian Robinson:
South China Morning Post story is HERE.
Bejing Review story is HERE.
Briefing on China trip from Mrs. Obama Chief of Staff Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney is HERE.
Below, from the pool report on the Summer Palace visit, by the Wall Street Journal’s Laurie Burkitt….
Hundreds of Chinese citizens lined the entrance of the Summer Palace, now a tourist spot that served as a getaway garden for Emperors of the dynastic era, awaiting a chance to see Michelle Obama.
Just inside the Summer Palace, at the Temple of Longevity, 17 school children from the Thomas and Scott Middle Schools in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, fidgeted in chairs sat across from a stage until Mrs. Obama arrived. Many of the children, whose ages ranged from 12 to 14, had been studying Chinese for up to five years.
They were in China for spring break and prior to coming had applied, by sending letters to Mrs. Obama, to meet with the First Lady. “We saw it on her blog and wanted to be part of it,” said Jill Goodmanson, a parent with two children on the trip.
Emerging from the side of the stage, Mrs. Obama, who changed clothing after giving her morning speech at the Stanford Center, approached the children with her daughters Sasha and Malia by her side. Her mother, Marian Robinson, came later. “How long have you been here?” asked Mrs. Obama, leaning close to a young girl who looked thrilled to be talking to her. Mrs. Obama, wearing wide-legged trousers, a patterned turquoise blouse and ballet flats, asked “How’s the jet lag?”
The banter continued, with discussion about the students’ trip to the Great Wall the previous day and the vast number of stairs they climbed. Ms. Obama began shaking hands with all the children and Sasha and Malia, whose hair looked particularly great Saturday, followed suit. Everyone squinted in the bright afternoon sun.
Mrs. Obama and her daughters and mother sat in open chairs in the center of the group, next to a ginger-haired girl who will likely leave Beijing with great memories and a painful sunburn.
And then the performance began. Loud clamoring of symbols served as a cue for “Hou Xi,” otherwise known as the Monkey Performance, a common traditional Chinese performance art. Dancers in masks paraded around, whipping swords in the air. Mrs. Obama whispered something in Malia’s ear and they both laughed. After some daring act on stage, Mrs. Obama clapped with her arms far from her chest and let out a small “whoop.” She smiled through much of the performance, which lasted less than five minutes, and clapped at the end.
Then it was time for farewells. Mrs. Obama and her family left, waving goodbye.
The children were bouncing around after, all dressed in T-shirts with their Chinese names listed on the back. “It was really cool,” said Kate Abbott, a 13 year-old who attends Thomas Middle School and has been studying Chinese for five years. “It’s really interesting to meet people who are important,” Miss Abbott said, noting that it was less cool to wait through the hours of security before Mrs. Obama arrived.