The White House / Chuck Kennedy

Reporters Want Access On Michelle Obama's China Trip

Michelle Obama is in China without the president, and she's not giving interviews or letting reporters travel with her either.

By Christina Hartman | March 20, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama's in China — her third trip abroad without the president. (Via The White House)

​But the fact she's not giving interviews or letting reporters travel with her has a few bloggers a little upset. (Via Breitbart.com, The Weekly Standard, Daily Mail)

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof even suggested the move was a sign of weakness and fear of scrutiny. 

The First Lady's office says the trip is to promote educational exchange programs — trying to get more American students to study abroad in China. 

And officials say despite tense relations between the U.S. and China, Mrs. Obama's trip will be decidedly non-political. (Via The New York Times)

"A cultural exchange and not political."

But calling it non-political doesn't mean there aren't politics. (Via NBC)

CBS notes conservative critics in particular are suggesting the First Lady — who's taking her two daughters and mother — is merely on a taxpayer-funded vacation. (Via CBS)

Like The Daily Caller's Neil Munro — who points out the White House won't say how much the trip is costing. 

And reminding readers a 2010 trip the First Lady took to Spain with her daughters cost taxpayers an estimated $467,600.  (Via NTDTV

But for its part China seems to be looking forward to the trip. A piece from state-run Xinhua is effusive, reading in part: "Given that first ladies are unique ambassadors for the United States, the trip stands out as a stroke of 'gentle diplomacy' on the part of Washington."

China's First Lady Peng Liyuan is hosting Mrs. Obama. Peng is something of a celebrity and fashion icon — often called China's Michelle Obama. (Via Link TV)

The First Lady's trip to China is expected to last a week. She'll visit Beijing, Xi'an and a panda preserve in Chengdu in the country's south. There aren't currently any plans for her to meet officially with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

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