US first lady Michelle Obama has told Chinese professors, students and parents that she wouldn’t have risen to where she was if her parents hadn’t pushed for her to get a good education.
She made her comments before hosting a discussion about education on the third day of her visit to the country aimed at promoting educational exchanges between the US and China.
“Education is an important focus for me. It’s personal, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education,” she said.
“My parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation.”
Obama said she and her husband wanted as many young people as possible in the United States and the world to have access to education.
She then hosted a roundtable with a handful of Chinese professors, students and parents at an event at the US Embassy in Beijing that was attended by new US Ambassador to China Max Baucus but closed to media.
The US first lady plans to visit the Great Wall later on Sunday and have lunch with her mother and daughters at a restaurant in a former school near a section of the wall.
On Saturday, she gave a speech at China’s prestigious Beijing University in which she promoted the free flow of information and freedom of speech, the only time during her trip that she has brought up a contentious issue.
China routinely filters out information deemed offensive by the government and silences dissenting voices.
Her remarks were absent from China’s state media but were circulating in social media, where they were widely praised.