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What's Salma Hayek Doing With Xi Jinping?

May 07, 2024 15:49 IST
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China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are on a trip through Europe, his first in five years.

First stop was Paris, following which China's first couple will, with French President Emmanuel Macron, visit the picturesque Pyrenees, where Macron's maternal grandmother hailed from, and then head for Hungary and Serbia.

It's a critical visit for Xi given the escalating disputes between China and the European Union over trade. And Macron was sure to request Xi to persuade Russia to end the Ukraine war.

Macron rolled out the red carpet with a flourish at the Elysee Palace for Xi, who turns 71 on June 15, and boss of the Chinese Communist party and his singer spouse with a State dinner on Tuesday, May 6, 2024.


IMAGE: Salma Hayek, attired in a gorgeous ruby gown, shakes hands with Macron as Xi and Peng gawk at the statuesque actress who still retains her oomph at 57. Salman's husband of 15 years, French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, brings up the rear. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: The Mexican-American actor radiated 1920s Hollywood vibes in her lovely yesteryear-ish dress as she arrived with her French billionaire husband Francois-Henri Pinault at the French presidential palace.
It was no surprise that Macron gifted Xi a Hennessey cognac and a Remy Louis XIII, among other items; Beijing is at the moment investigating French brandy imports into China while the EU is looking at the low-cost, electric cars China is flooding Europe with.
In addition to cognac, Xi received precious volumes by Victor Hugo, a French-Chinese dictionary, the first-ever published, and an Amboise vase.
In turn Xi presented Macron with a painting and French-language books published in China.Photograph: Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters


IMAGE: Xi and French film-maker Jean-Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire, The Name of the Rose, Enemy at the Gates) greet each other.
We do know Xi has watched films like Sleepless in Seattle, Saving Private Ryan,the Netflix series House of Cards, Mission: Impossible, The Deer Hunter, The Godfather, but we don't know if he appreciates Annaud's films and he would never have watched the French director's Seven Years in Tibet (it was banned in the People's Republic of China for its portrayal of Communist military officers and how they ill treated the Tibetans). Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Elegant Delphine Arnault, CEO of Christian Dior, and her dad Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the world's richest man, were invited.
No doubt Delphine and Peng would have had a lot to chat about. Mrs Xi is one of the more prominent first ladies China has ever had.
A celebrated folk singer, who has made it to a few of the most powerful global women's lists some years back, Peng is admired for her fashion. Photograph: Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters


IMAGE: Beautifully-clad Gong Li, one of China's most well-known actors internationally, famous for her role in Memoirs of a Geisha and Farewell My Concubine, meets Mr and Mrs Xi. Gong is married to French electronic music composer Jean-Michel Jarre. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Xi exchanges cordialities with Jarre, who was apparently the first Western musician formally invited to perform in China. He held five concerts there in 1981 in Beijing and Shanghai. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Luc Besson, the film-maker behind Subway (1985), The Big Blue (1988), and La Femme Nikita (1990), bows low before Xi.
Besson has made several lengthy trips to China and his movies have been popular there, especially the more recent Dogman. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: French actress Sophie Marceau, the face of Citroen's luxury line and whose billboards are all over China, was among the 120 guests present for the regal banquet.
Details of what the guests ate have not been revealed, but they probably must have tucked into several varieties of exotic French cheese, like at the last dinner in 2019. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Two singers were introduced: French songstress Mireille Mathieu, who sings in 11 languages (in Chinese occasionally too), has sold 122 million records and had performed at a concert in China, was delighted to make the acquaintance of fellow chanteuse Peng Liyuan. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Before the dinner at the Elysee Palace, Brigitte Macron, a popular first lady in her own right, took Peng to Paris' Musée d'Orsay. They are seen here viewing the Portrait de l'artiste by Vincent Van Gogh. Photograph: Aurelien Morissard/Pool/Reuters


IMAGE: Peng Liyuan was also treated to a taste of Claude Monet. The two first ladies were examining Monet's 1877 oil, Les Dindons (The Turkeys) belonging to a series on Montgeron, south of Paris, where the painter met his second wife.
It is unlikely that they had a peep at Charles Cordier's controversial golden Chinese busts created in 1853 titled Chinois and Chinoise also located in this museum. Photograph: Aurelien Morissard/Pool/Reuters

Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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