Malia Obama posed for photos in Beijing, China on Friday wearing an affordable Topshop dress. The dress was a short-sleeve floral print mini. One source identified it as the "Crocus Crop Skater Dress" sold for around $138 by British fashion retailer Topshop.
Malia paired the dress with black tights and flats. In the photo, she appears to be as tall as if not taller than her mother Michelle Obama who is wearing heels to match her bright red dress.
Besides her mother, Malia was joined in the photo by sister Sasha, grandmother Marian Robinson and Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.
This marks Michelle Obama's first-ever trip to China. It is also the first time a First Lady of the United States has visited the country independently of her husband.
She arrived on Thursday with plans to spend four days in Beijing before visiting tourist sites in the interior cities of Xi'an and Chengdu.
“The relationships between the United States and China couldn’t be more important,” she said on Friday morning, “and having the opportunity to travel here, to listen, to learn, to hear more about the education initiatives here in this country and to share my travels with students throughout the United States is a very unique experience, and it’s one that I will never forget.”
On Saturday, the First Lady made her first and only scheduled speech of the trip, at the Stanford Center at Peking University.
In what is considered by many to be a thinly veiled criticism of China's strict media censorship, she made the following remarks:
“It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the Internet and through the media,” she said. “Because that’s how we discover the truth, that’s how we learn what’s really happening in our communities, in our country and our world.”
In his introduction of the First Lady, Max Baucus, the newly appointed US ambassador to China, praised Twitter and Facebook in spite of the fact that both social media sites are blocked in China.
The First Lady also cautioned against tamping down criticism of the government:
"That’s how we decide which values and ideas we think are best — by questioning and debating them vigorously, by listening to all sides of the argument and by judging for ourselves. And believe me, I know how this can be a messy and frustrating process. My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens, and it’s not always easy, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Because time and again, we have seen that countries are stronger and more prosperous when the voices and opinions of all citizens can be heard."
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) March 23, 2014
The visiting party's less politically-charged activities include learning to write Chinese characters, visiting the Great Wall, seeing the famous terra cotta warriors in Xi'an, and visiting a giant panda research base home.
Their final scheduled activity is a lunch on March 26 at a Tibetan restaurant. Given the ongoing controversy over Chinese rule of the Tibetan population, this stop is considered by some to be an unspoken statement of support for the Tibetan cause.
“We welcome the First Lady’s visit to a Tibetan restaurant, a demonstration of the long-standing American interest in the distinct Tibetan culture,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.
Image via YouTube