The Empress of China

The Empress of China (2014)

Your Rating:
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 463 users
Reviews: 8 users

In 637 AD, a young girl named Wu Ru Yi from Jingzhou County was selected into the imperial harem of the Tang Dynasty. Ru Yi danced very well and outshined all the other girls. During a rehearsal, she caught the attention and affection of the emperor Tai Zong Li Shi Min, who nicknamed her Meiniang, which means elegant lady. At the time, she was 14 years old, and he was 39. The read moresame night, another girl was murdered, and everyone accused Meiniang of being the killer. She was tortured to confess the “truth” and was banished into the Cold Palace.

  • Native title:

  • Also Known as:

    Shao Nu Wu Ze Tian; Wu Ze Tian; Empress Wu; 武则天

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22 people found this review helpful
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Feb 9, 2015
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.5
Firstly, I have to say if you don't understand Chinese or the culture of the Chinese royalty it would be quite a difficult drama to understand and enjoy by reading the subtitles. The proverbs and 'old Chinese' they use made it slightly difficult for me to understand even as a Chinese speaker. However it is a drama which was worthwhile.

The story is based on the historical character Wu Zhetian - read more the first and only female emperor in Chinese history. From what I have learned about that era, this drama reflects well on major events as well as some minor events. However, this drama focuses more on the romance of the main character. The pace and transition of each saga of her story is well organised.

The chemistry between the actors/actresses are really well shown. The actors/actresses casted to portray the characters are well chosen and I cannot ask for better. The acting is well done and there was hardly any cringy acting.

The opening song really shows the strong Chinese dynasty and goes really well with the clips that are edited with it. After watching her drama, look back at the opening sequence you will feel very emotional as you look at the development of Wu MeiNiang (Wu Zhetian) and her interaction with other characters.

This is the longest drama I've ever watched. It went far above my expectations. The makeup, clothing, movement to plot, music and characters are so well put together I don't think anything can be better. I hardly do reviews for dramas but this really worth a recommendation. My favourite part of the drama is the chemistry between Wu MeiNiang and Li ShiMin.
Sadly, the censorship which edited the clothing and scenes which were considered 'inappropriate' slightly ruined the character development and chemistry between some characters.
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28 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Feb 23, 2015
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 6.5
  • Rewatch Value 3.0
Story: This is a modern re-take on the famous historical figure - Wu Ze Tian. Empress Wu is renown as the only female emperor in China but most importantly, she is also famous for her cruelty with historical records of infanticide (she murdered her own baby), murder, amputation, torture etc. Although an intelligent and educated woman, her rule was marred by reports of her cruelty against her own children, relatives, ministers and read more servants. However, scholars have also praised her for her brilliance in administration. She made wise decisions in selecting capable ministers though she was quick to punish any mistakes - often cruelly. During her rule, the Tang dynasty expanded rapidly and became the biggest empire - extending to beyond the west of Turkey and with Japan and the Korean peninsula firmly under Chinese rule. If we are to re-interprete the life of Wu Ze Tian in the context of her life in early China, we might arrive at a conclusion of a perfectionist feminist with a tendency to punish incompetence and perceived betrayals. After all, Wu Ze Tian lived in a purely patriarchal society where a female ruler is a taboo that has to be taken down regardless of consequences. Women as leaders is bad luck - a curse or even can be viewed as Satan himself. Yin can never dominate Yang - the very essence of Taoist teaching; which was the main teaching during the Tang dynasty. Under such circumstances and having lived all her life under the rule of incompetent males - what is a brilliant woman to do? She had no choice but to defy traditions and society - killing anyone who stood in her way (these are ppl who cannot accept a female ruler) and resorting to lies and murders to frame others so she could rise to position. It is true then, that when women fight, they don't fight fair!

Now, that is what history remembers Wu Ze Tian as - brilliant, perfectionist, strategist & murderer. But is this the personal Wu Ze Tian? This series acted and produced by Fan Bing Bing give viewers a different take on the cruel empress - one that colours We Ze Tian as a kind woman who fell victim to broken relationships, lies and plots of others around her. A helpless and vengeful Wu Ze Tian??? Hmmm....I know many who are skeptical of this! At least I know my aging mum who's a bit of a Chinese history buff cursed this portrayal of Wu Ze Tian. All Chinese knew this empress as a cruel person - why is she suddenly a nice, innocent and victim-of-circumstance person? Perhaps, this is just another perspective - albeit a more feminist perspective of Wu Ze Tian. We all know that Fan Bing Bing's a consummate feminist and this is her attempt to give the world a different portrayal of powerful Chinese female historical figures. Her next project is a drama on Empress Dowager Cixi. The Chinese hated Cixi even to this day. There is a tradition in China where ppl spit at her grave and curse her even to this day - that is how hated this woman is. Like Wu Ze Tian, she murdered many - including her own children and relatives. She's also the woman who signed away HK, Macau and many important Chinese ports to the Brits so she could continue with her opium addiction. Unlike Wu Ze Tian who at least ruled the country wisely and contributed to the expansion of the Chinese empire, Cixi actually almost destroyed it. The Chinese saw the last of the Chinese emperors, partially thanks to her. So, how will Fan Bing Bing portray Cixi as a heroine in her next project? Let's wait and see...

Acting/Cast: Acting is good as all actors and actresses are very experienced. No problems in this department. The costumes are brilliant. Although the cleavages are common to the Tang dynasty's fashion, the elaborated designs, bright multi-colours and accessories may be a little too modern (and fanciful) to the time. There are also many instances when Wu Ze Tian has a more elaborate costume compared to the other women who were higher ranked than her. She even out-shone the emperor's costumes.. which is a no-no. It is obvious that the best costumes are reserved for Fan Bing Bing's main character of Wu Ze Tian which kind of created an unrealistic atmosphere. She should have gone with less elaborate costumes as befitting her station in the palace instead of insisting on being the 'peacock' of the lot.

Music: The OSTs are ok but not the main feature of this drama.

Overall: It's a good enough entertainment but let's be honest here, with 96 episodes... I don't know anyone who is crazy enough to re-watch this again. It is not the 'WOW!' kind of drama that would cause you to re-watch it. It's a once-off drama that is good enough to keep you entertained.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (4)Recommendations

Recommended by ALEXANDRIA
Both are the stories about how a woman (a princess in QSD and an aristocrat daughter in TEOC) becomes - after facing many obstacles - the ruler of a country. Both are based on real characters, however their stories are dramatised for the shows.

The main difference is that while in QSD the heroine climbs the ranks first as a cross-dressed boy and then as a princess, in TEOC, the main character has to climb through the emperor's harem (and so the story, especially the first part, is more heavily focused on harem intrigues and conflicts), which is then replaced with more political plots.

Both have tragedy as well as a fair dose of angst (more so for TEOC though), well developed characters, are exciting and completely suck you in.

After finishing both there's this feeling of melancholic bitterness.
Recommended by kuroioni

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Comments (110)

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  • Reply
    ClaudiaKdramaFan Jul 14, 2017 - edited

    Anyone knows what is Janine role in this?????

    • Reply
      Laura 9 days ago

      At the beginning of the drama she was Cairen Xu. She was Mei Niang's best friend.

    • Reply
      ClaudiaKdramaFan 9 days ago

      Oh ok thank you!

  • Reply
    zentoshi_ May 28, 2017

    Was going to watch it but all I could find was the censored version. -_-
    I mean come on, totally ruined it for me.

  • Reply
    Mimi May 13, 2017 - edited

    This drama is okay but then towards the end li zhi the king ruined it a little for me. I actually felt bad for mei niang, n it just dragged a little too much they could've made it like 60eps or less bc towards the end it just shows how mei niang fends for herself

  • Reply
    jia Apr 25, 2017

    This drama is super long lol

  • Reply
    Jordan Apr 24, 2017

    i am so entertained by this show

  • Reply
    sakurahimesama Apr 12, 2017

    This drama didn’t really reach my expectations i watched about 30 episodes but i couldn't handel it anymore so i just read the recaps....i usually love historical long dramas but unfortunately this drama left me really disappointed.

  • Reply
    Krispey Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    I have finished the photoshopped verision of this amazing drama (There is 3 verision, one just simply cut out stuff where they show skin, 2nd they photoshopped a "cloth" over the boob area so we saw the whole screen. 3rd is the non edited verision at all where all the scenes are intact).

    So, my question is, is there any site where i can watch the non edited verision? Dont really need to be subs, just want to watch some scenes which matters alot to the story but where simply just cut off because of too much skinship and whatnot :D

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 25, 2017

      @Krispey were you able to find an eng sub non edited version? I am also watching the photoshopped version

    • Reply
      Krispey Apr 29, 2017

      Oh no :/ I did however find a site where u could watch all the 3 verisions when googling chinese text, but couldnt get it to work for some reason so just dropped it ._.

    • Reply
      Jordan Apr 29, 2017

      aww that sucks but thanks for getting back to me :)

  • Reply
    Marooya Mar 8, 2017

    This was a long, long, and tiring drama it took me so long to finish it (not the longest drama I have seen but the longest it took to finish). My choices of the Chinese Historical dramas haven't been good since Nirvana in Fire. I'm not trying to compare I'm just saying I haven't been happy with any of my choices. Empress of China was dull and boring, The characters made no sense and the main character was a let down to be honest. The main reason I watched this in the first place is because I was looking forward to see an angel to demon transformation in Lady Wu.
    I did like the costumes and the auspicious though which is why I didn't go lower with my ratings.

  • Reply
    Emily Feb 9, 2017 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      moondust Mar 2, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Ekteneia Feb 6, 2017 - edited

    I really wanted to like this because I was overwhelmed by the costumes and the make up, the colours, the beautiful faces, and the story. However, I dropped this drama because some scenes' nonexistent logic was too much for me to bear. I do not ask for total realism and I'm aware of the fact that this still is a drama, but there were things that irked me on an higher level.

  • Reply
    irilight Jan 16, 2017 - edited

    I just finished watching it. I loved this drama. Fan BingBing is amazing in her performance. I loved the love story between her and Gaozong; But not the first half of her relationship with Emperor Taizong. That first part, for me - only served as her background to her, and her life in the palace; and I wish they had cut that part short in the drama, and instead give us in the end more episodes about her accomplishments as the Empress. I also liked Aarif Rahman. I'd love to see him again in a romantic role

  • Reply
    Ruyi Dec 16, 2016

    Her name is RuYi??!! My chinese name is RuYi(如意)!!! This is so cool~~

  • Reply
    Khaiz Dec 3, 2016

    Just finished it... what can I say?? Mainly disappointment because I watched the censor version... So much scenes were cut that I couldn't understand everything...
    I was expecting an epic romance int the second part of the drama but it was so meh to me... Well it was entertaining and at some point I was captivated by it but later on, I just skipped the drama to see the ending >.>

  • Reply
    Emily Nov 20, 2016 - edited

    Where can I find this with eng subs?

    • Reply
      flo Jun 25, 2017

      Is the one on kissasian the non edited version where all the scenes are intact? But it only has 74 episodes. Newasiantv also 74 ep. But dramalist has it listed 96 episodes ?

  • Reply
    yarnie Sep 25, 2016

    everything was going well until i read she was 14 he was 39 omooooooooooo HORROR!! i know it was lika that in that time but still my stomach feels so bad whenever i think about it..


  • Country:

  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Dec 21, 2014 to Feb 3, 2015
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Network:

    Hunan TV
  • Duration:

    45 min.


  • Score:

    8.1 (scored by 463 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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