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The Empress of China

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Created by
First episode date
21 December 2014

Executive producer

Directed by
Go Yik Chun

Standard Mandarin

The Empress of China 17 of Fan Bingbing39s most stunning costumes in The Empress of China

Also known as
Wu Ze Tian

Fan Bingbing, Zhang Fengyi, Aarif Rahman, Janine Chang

Fan Bingbing, Aarif Rahman, Janine Chang, Zhang Xinyu, Zhang Fengyi

Lady Wu: The First Empress, Secret History of Empress Wu, Women of the Tang Dynasty

The Empress of China (simplified Chinese: 武媚娘传奇; traditional Chinese: 武媚娘傳奇; pinyin: wǔ mèi niáng chuán qí; Jyutping: mou5 mei4 noeng4 cyun4 kei4) is a 2014 Chinese television drama based on events in 7th and 8th-century Tang dynasty, starring producer Fan Bingbing as the titular character Wu Zetian—the only female emperor in Chinese history.


The Empress of China 1000 ideas about The Empress Of China on Pinterest Wu zetian

It is the third television production by Fan Bingbing Studio and boasts of a budget of over ¥300 million (roughly US$49.53 million). As such, it is believed to be the among most expensive TV series in Chinese history, beating the previous record of ¥280 million by Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties (2013). The television series was first broadcast on Hunan Television on December 21, 2014 in Mainland China.

The Empress of China The Empress Of China returns to TV without cleavage

Trailer of the empress of china


The Empress of China 17 images about China history on Pinterest The empress of china

During Tang Dynasty's 2nd reign, Wu Ruyi (Fan Bingbing) enters the palace at age 14 as an innocent Cairen (Talented Lady) and aspires to serve Emperor Taizong (Zhang Fengyi) as his consort. The Emperor Taizong soon takes notice of her and falls in love with her, inciting many to grow jealous of her. They set out to destroy her numerous times by falsely accusing her of theft, murder and treachery. She survives by her wits and intelligence but is kept at arm's length by Emperor Taizong due to a prophecy foretelling a woman of Wu stealing the Tang Dynasty. When Emperor Taizong dies, she is sent to a monastery to become a nun. However, the Emperor's youngest son Li Zhi (Aarif Rahman), who later becomes the Emperor Gaozong, has been in love with her since he was a child. He brings her back to the palace and makes her his concubine. During her time as a minor consort to Emperor Taizong, she learned how an effective Emperor rule his court. Using that knowledge, she helped Li Zhi take back power from his Regent, and herself into the position of Empress meanwhile revenging for her daughter's death. She co-ruled with Li Zhi until his death, after which she ruled the country in her own right.

Main cast

The Empress of China The Empress of China available in full body Cfensi

  • Fan Bingbing as Wu Meiniang (Empress Wu Zetian)
  • Zhang Fengyi as Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong)
  • Aarif Rahman as Li Zhi (Emperor Gaozong)
  • Janine Chang as Xu Hui (Able Consort Xu)
  • Emperor Taizong's harem

    The Empress of China httpsiytimgcomvijh9lmCNY0Mhqdefaultjpg

  • Zhang Ting as Noble Consort Wei (Gui Fei)
  • Kathy Chow as Pure Consort Yang (Shu Fei)
  • Zhang Tong as Virtous Consort Yin (De Fei)
  • Zhang Ding Han as Empress Wende / Zheng Wanyan
  • Nie Mei as Able Consort Liu (Xian Fei)
  • Sun Jia Qi as Xiao Qiang
  • Zhang Xi Ting as Feng Cairen
  • Liu Zhi Xi as Chen Guiren
  • Emperor Gaozong's harem

    The Empress of China The Empress of China Wikipedia

  • Shi Shi as Empress Wang
  • Viann Zhang as Consort Xiao
  • Cui Bing as Liu Shi
  • Ma Si Chun as Helan Min Yue
  • Royal family

  • Lee Liren as Li Chengqian
  • Li Jie as Li Ke
  • Ren Shan as Li Tai
  • Xue Yongyu as Li You
  • Li Yuexi as Crown Princess Su Mei
  • Mi Lu as Princess Gaoyang
  • Cui Can as Li Sujie
  • Zhang Xuanming as Li Zhong
  • Chen Jingyuan as childhood Li Zhong
  • Kang Fuzhen as Li Hong
  • Wang Wenjie as young Li Xián
  • Yu Wentong as mid-age Li Xiǎn
  • Xi Yuli as Wei Shi
  • Ministers and generals

  • Li Chen as Li Mu
  • Wu Xiubo as younger Zhang Jianzhi
  • Wei Zi as older Zhang Jianzhi
  • Wang Huichun as Zhangsun Wuji
  • Wang Qianhng as Zhangsun Chong
  • Yao Yanlin as Shangguan Yi
  • Zheng Xiaozhong as Pei Yan
  • Liu Zuhe as Xu Jingzong
  • Li Yansheng as Chu Suiliang
  • Li Guangfu as Wei Zheng
  • Yu Haoming as Li Chunfeng
  • Yu Ailei as Li Yifu
  • Hou Jie as Hou Junji
  • Liu Xiaoxi as Fang Xuanling
  • Zhu Xiaohui as Fang Yi'ai, Princess Gaoyang's husband
  • Sun Ning as Li Shiji
  • Qin Qidong as Bianji, Princess Gaoyang's illicit lover
  • Xu Jie as Di Renjie
  • Servants

  • Shen Baoping as Wang De, Emperor Taizong's personal attendant
  • He Xin as Chengxin, Crown Prince's companion
  • Wang Zhen as Chun Ying, Consort Wei's personal attendant
  • Chen Si Si as Qing Shun, Consort Yang's personal attendant
  • Tu Liman as Liu Siyao, Consort De's personal attendant
  • Wang Yanan as Wen Niang, Xu Hui's personal attendant
  • Gao Yuan as Rui An
  • Other

  • Shōta Matsushima as Motsube Amamori, a Japanese chess player
  • Production

    Zhejiang Talent Television & Film, China Film Group Corporation, Evergrande Film Co., Duzhe Publishing Media Co., Jilin Television, and Guangxi Television co-financed the TV series.

    A project-starting press conference held on December 28, 2012. Then, the director was Liu Jiang, who quit the project later due to a busy schedule.

    The character photos for the TV series were released on February 12, 2014. The release of the photos was a gift sent by the crew to the TV audience for the Chinese New Year. Fan said the role was one she had always dreamed of playing and every generation had different interpretations and she hope she could interpret the character in her own way.

    Filming began on December 28, 2013, and ended on August 16, 2014. Filming locations included Wuxi, Hengdian World Studios, Nanjing, and Shaoxing.

    A broadcasting press conference was held in Beijing on December 18, 2014. The TV series has more than 260 sets of clothing for Fan Bingbing and more than 3,000 sets of clothing for the whole crew, with the most expensive piece being the dragon robe at over 500,000 CNY. Wu Hongliang, one of the producers, said the crew had more than 600 people, shooting lasted for almost 10 months, and several writers worked on the script for three years.


    The series' Chinese name was initially Wu Zetian, and then renamed to The Legend of Wu Zetian. Just two days before the broadcasting date, it was renamed again as The Legend of Wu Meiniang. This was required by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT).


    The series' musical score was composed by Dong Dongdong, who previously wrote the music to No Man's Land and Beijing Love Story. At the first, the production company intended to invite musicians from Korea, Japan and China mainland, but the idea was changed due to China's censorship policy on TV series changing. Initially, one TV series could broadcast on four satellite channels, but in 2015 it was revised to allow broadcasting on two satellite channels. Considering the cost recovery and the busy post-production schedule, the production company invited the native composer Dong Dongdong.

    The opening song was called Qian Qiu (Chinese: 千秋; literally: "For Thousands of Years"), sung by Sun Nan.

    The closing theme song was called Wu Zi Bei (Chinese: 无字碑; literally: "Wordless Tablet"), sung by Jane Zhang, lyrics by Vincent Fang, music by Aarif Rahman. The song premiered during a Sina live stream session on 16 December 2014 and topped the New Song Chart as the most listened song with the view count exceeding 1.37 million.

    For the TVB's broadcast in Hong Kong, the opening song was called "The Queen", sung by Joey Yung.


    The Empress of China began airing from December 21, 2014 exclusively on Hunan Television in mainland China, and has also been broadcast on Chung T'ien Television in Taiwan, TVB in Hong Kong, and Golden Town Film Co., Ltd in Thailand.

    Mainland China

    The TV drama was suspended for four days from December 28, 2014 to January 1, 2015. Hunan Television said on its official Sina Weibo account that the "TV drama The Empress of China will stop from Sunday on due to 'technical' reasons but will return to the screen on January 1, 2015". However, it was reported that the actual reason for this suspension was because the dresses were 'too exposing', especially in the chest region and the broadcasting authorities demanded the broadcaster edit the TV drama and then submit again for censorship. The show returned to screens on January 1, 2015, but with edited scenes that removed much of the shots of cleavage area. Wide shots and close-ups were heavily employed to minimize the amount of cleavage. Chinese Internet users responded by complaining about the censorship on Weibo. Several complained that they would not be able to see the hundreds of costume changes by Fan Bingbing. Some reports noted that the Tang Dynasty was one of the greatest dynasties in ancient China, and women were known to wear revealing attire.

    Likewise, any scenes showing intimacy or affection between the protagonists were completely cut (like the bath tub or kissing scenes), which makes following the drama's storyline difficult at times.


    Taiwan began airing the drama March 30, 2015 on cable channel CTi TV and free-to-air channel CTV. Both stations aired the series in its entirety, un-cut and un-censored.

    Hong Kong

    Hong Kong free-to-air channel TVB Jade began broadcast of the drama on April 26, 2015. Due to the length of the series the drama was reduced by ten episodes and TVB also changed their broadcast schedule to have the drama air throughout the entire week Sunday to Saturday. In order to avoid the cleavage exposing controversy without zooming-in scenes like the version aired in mainland China, TVB hired CGI experts to add an effect clothing to cover up the cleavage. TVB also aired original audio and a Cantonese dubbed version on their Jade channel.


    The Empress of China has been a commercial success. The show's first episode broke records for TV drama viewers. Despite the re-edits to please SARFT, the viewership ratings of The Empress of China remained at an all-time high.

    The drama received mixed to negative reviews. The audiences praised the beautiful costume, but complained the slow narrative rhythm and said the plot turns dramatically without foreshadowing, as is broken and not linked well at all. Some reports noted that the drama was a kind of Mary Sue story. The drama was not a factually accurate history. Wu Zetian had several battles with her opponent Zhangsun Wuji in history, but in the drama, Wu Zetian was shaped into an innocent woman.

    Mainland China
    Hong Kong


    The Empress of China Wikipedia

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