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Picture source:dramapanda

Life in China is not always easy and requires a full set of badass skills, sometimes even forcing certain individuals to reach the dark side of the force. That applies not only to gentlemen, but ladies in particular.

Last year we introduced you to 7 Shanghai-based intriguing gentlemen, with quite impressive badass background (if you want to refresh the memory, check out the link below this article!).

Now, it is time that you traveled even further back in time and met the ancient, ultimately ruthless female rulers of the Dragon’s Kingdom ( and you thought that those GOT gals were ultimately wicked....).


1. Empress Lü Zhi (吕后) 241–180 BC  

The first woman to become Empress of China. She was the wife of Emperor Liu Bang (Gaozu), founder of the Han Dynasty. The first Chinese empress to issue imperial decrees.

Picture source: Impression of China

PDE ( Public Display of Evilness) Record

· Ordered to kill several aristocratic and influential families to maintain authority for herself and her husband.

· After Liu Bang’s died, she assassinated his second son that he had with his favorite concubine Qi Ji.

· Mutilated Qi Ji ( chopped off her hands and feet, scooped out her eyes, made her deaf and dumb with toxins) and sent her to live in a pigsty.

· Removed the ministers at court, who were faithful to Liu Bang, and gave the positions to her own family members.

· Removed Emperor Shao from the throne and replaced him with a puppet emperor Wang Yi.

· Imprisoned the king of Zhao for plotting treason and later had him murdered.

2. Wu Zetian (Empress Wu) 则天 625-705AD

In the seventh century A.D became the only woman in more than 3,000 years of Chinese

history to rule in her own right.

Picture source:Quiz Insight


· When she became the concubine to Emperor Gaozong of Tang, Wu smothered her own week-old daughter by Gaozong and blamed the baby’s death on Wang – his first wife.

· Ordered to lop off hands and feet of Wang and Gaozong’s favorite consort aka Pure Concubine and then toss their mutilated bodies into the vat of wine.

· Had her own army of secret police to spy on her enemies and eliminate them.

· Wiped out twelve collateral branches of the Tang clan” and had the heads of two of two rebellious princes hacked off and brought to her in her palace.

· Manipulated the succession of her own sons and banished one of them.

· Ordered the suicides of a grandson and granddaughter who had dared to criticize her.

· Poisoned her husband, who died unobserved and alone, even though tradition held that the entire family should assemble around the imperial death bed to attest to any last words.

· To the horror of her generals, proposed raising a military corps among China’s numerous eunuchs ( as it was quite common to underprivileged Chinese boys to undergo emasculation in the hope of obtaining a prestigious and well -paid post in the imperial service)

3. Empress Wei 韦皇后 - 664 – 710 AD

Wu Zeitian’s daughter in law, the second longest reigning Chinese empress in history, reigning for 38 years.

Picture source: CulturaColectiva


· After the death of her mother in law, manipulated and gathered the gang gathered by Wu Zetian to gain the power herself and control the entire court.

· Made her own husband a puppet emperor.

· Removed and killed all of her enemies by framing them, which led to their execution.

· Murdered her own husband with his favorite favorite food – poisonous steamed cakes.


4. Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧太后 - 1835 -1905

One of China’s most famous empresses, known for her ruthlessness and resilience Chinese empress dowager and regent, born into a distinguished family of Manchu lineage, who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years from 1861 until her death in 1908.

Picture source: fashionarchaeology


· After the death of Emperor Xianfeng, who made Cixi his concubine, ordered the suicide

of the emperor’s regents and had her own son (whom she had with Xianfeng)

Tongzhi crowned as emperor.

· When her nephew was put on the throne, she she ordered him to reclusion

palace within the Forbidden City, isolating him from the world and leaving him see

nobody but his wife and servants, who were then either put to death or banished.

· Squandered money on luxurious banquets and expensive jewelry.

· Put her own interests ahead of the nation.

· Killed previously mentioned nephew through arsenic poisoning, as she could never

deal with the grudges she held against him ( out of sight out of mind they say...)

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