updated 18 Jul 2014, 14:07
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Sun, Mar 30, 2014
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She dances her way into China's heart

Her one-week trip to China ended on Wednesday.

And it seems US First Lady Michelle Obama warmed her way into Chinese hearts not with diplomacy or style statements, but by doing things normal people do.

Mrs Obama, 50, skipped rope in the playground, giggled with high school students and tried her hand at everything from taiji to table tennis, never mind the fact that she looked clumsy at times, CNN reported.

"I tried my hand at ping pong - not so good," the First Lady announced in her travel blog.

Continuing with the trip's athletic bent, Mrs Obama stretched her limbs in a taiji class in Chengdu.

"Taiji… is a truly beautiful form of physical activity, and I loved giving it a try," she wrote in her blog.

She looked as if she was enjoying herself.

And in a country where it is rare to see leaders' spouses or children in public, she seems to have charmed its citizens with her approachable manner - and snappy style.

During her trip promoting educational exchange, she took her mother Marian Robinson, 76, and her two daughters Malia, 15, and Sasha 12.

That is three generations of women, which makes a nice change from the usual line-up of male delegates.

Niceties apart, Mrs Obama also found time to delve into more serious issues.

She told an audience of college students in the Chinese capital on Saturday that open access to information - especially online - is a universal right, Reuters reported.


But she stopped short of calling on China to offer its citizens greater freedoms on a visit in which she was expected to steer clear of more complicated political issues, but try to build goodwill through soft diplomacy.

"It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the Internet and through the media," she told an audience of about 200 US and Chinese students at Beijing's prestigious Peking University.

"My husband (Barack) 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 I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

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