With the arrival of the glamorous Peng Liyuan, pictured above, China may be having a first lady moment, writes Paul French in Foreign Policy. Peng's past life as a famous singer, her stylish outfits -- Chinese designed! -- and her grace and presence while mingling among the powerful have intrigued everyone from the Financial Times to Chinese netizens, who appear fascinated by their new leader's better half. So is the Middle Kingdom entering a new era?
Not so fast, writes French. Sure, modern China since the 1980s hasn't exactly been a golden age for exciting political spouses -- Hu Jintao's wife said little; Jiang Zemin's said less. But with Peng Liyuan, French argues, China is actually returning to an earlier era, when women like Madame Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao's wife Jiang Qing were far more than bit players, leaving their mark on the world of politics.
Here, we've collected images of some of the famed and not-so-famed first ladies of modern China.