İmparatoriçe Wu Zetian

2011-08-11 14:04 ChineseTime


The ultimate Tang Dynasty woman was undoubtedly Wu Zetian. There were altogether 243 emperors during the 2,000 years from the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1911), and Wu Zetian was the only female monarch among them. Wu Zetian was the most legendary and controversial figure in Chinese history. She lived to be 82, and held power for 50 years.


Wu Zetian was born into an official's family in Wenshui, Shanxi Province. She was not only beautiful but also very intelligent. Although bestowed with strong female charm and grace, Wu Zetian was firm and unyielding in all her dealings. She entered the palace at the age of 14 and was assigned to wait upon Emperor Taizong, who gave her the name Mei, meaning charming and lovely, in acknowledgement of her beauty. But she did not like this name. After taking over power, she changed her name to Zhao (meaning the light of the sun and the moon illuminating every corner of the land). Wu Zetian was an uncompromising woman. At one time there was a wild and savage horse in the palace stables that no one could tame. Wu Zetian said that the way to deal with it was first to beat it with an iron whip, and if that did not work, to kill it. Wu Zetian was initially conferred the title of cairen (concubine of medium rank), but was unable to win much favor with Emperor Taizong. She worked as his secretary for 12 years, but she was neither promoted nor able to give birth to his child. Emperor Taizong's son, Li Zhi, however, was deeply infatuated with her. After the death of Taizong, Li Zhi was enthroned and Wu Zetian became empress. The emperor and empress ruled the country jointly. Since Li Zhi had delicate health, Wu Zetian was the actual ruler of the country. When Li Zhi died, Wu Zetian managed to stabilize the political situation based on her abundant experience of political intrigue. In 690, Wu Zetian ascended the throne and changed the title of the dynasty to Zhou. She disposed of all her political enemies and established the Wu family court. As monarch, she was a hardworking, sagacious and caring ruler. During Wu Zetian's reign, the country maintained its prosperity and the people lived in peace. The tribes who lived at the time of the newly established Zhou Dynasty all pledged allegiance to the empress.

Having worked as Emperor Taizong's secretary for 12 years, Wu Zetian was very familiar with the former emperor's main priorities in his management of state affairs, many of which she followed, for example, his stress on agriculture, reducing tax and corvee, practicing a peaceful foreign policy, and widely soliciting advice and suggestions.

The empress took great care to select talented people and put them in important positions. She also encouraged and supported female participation in politics. Shangguan Wan'er is a perfect example. Both her grandfather and father had been killed for opposing Wu Zetian's accession to power, and the young Wan'er and her mother were employed as maidservants at the palace where Wan'er received a very good education. She not only wrote beautiful poetry, but also gained an intimate knowledge of state affairs. Wu Zetian greatly appreciated her ability, and appointed Wan'er as her personal aide. Shangguan Wan'er proved her worth to the empress, not only through her ability to participate in the decision-making required by the memorials to the throne, but also by drafting imperial edicts for the empress. Shangguan once even acted as chief examiner of the final imperial examination. After Wu Zetian died, Shangguan Wan'er remained at court to assist Emperor Zhongzong in governing the country.

Wu Zetian was very tolerant of different opinions emanating from her subordinates. Xu Yougong was the official in charge of the judiciary, but would often confront the empress with his dissatisfaction at some of the court verdicts. On one occasion, Wu Zetian became so incensed that she issued an order to behead Xu, but just as the execution was about to start, she pardoned him, instead demoting him to a commoner. When her anger had abated, she continued to solicit Xu's opinion, and reinstated him as head of the judiciary. In conclusion, Wu Zetian was an empress of status, power, and outstanding achievement.


1.zhōng guó lì shǐ shàng wéi yī de nǚ huáng dì shì wǔ zé tiān 。
The only empress in Chinese history is Wu Ze Tian.

 2.wǔ zé tiān shì zhōng guó lì shǐ shàng jié chū de nǚ zhèng zhì jiā 。

Wu Zetian was an outstanding stateswoman in Chinese history.

1) 唯一 【wéi yī 】:only ,unique,sole

唯(wéi) 一(yī) 出(chū) 路(lù) :the only way out

2) 皇帝 【huáng dì】:emperor

jī běn shàng , zǎo qī jiào huì de yì xiē yì huì , huì yóu huáng dì zhào jí , bǐ rú jūn shì tǎn dīng huò tā de jì rèn rén 。
Basically,some councils in the early church, councils that would be called by the Emperor, for example,by Constantine or his successors.

3) 杰出的 【jié chū de 】:outstanding,splendid,excellent

杰(jié) 出(chū) 的(de) 特(tè) 征(zhēng) :outstanding features

4) 女政治家 【nǚ zhèng zhì jiā 】:stateswoman



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