Pu Yi (1901-1967) was the last emperor of China. He assumed the throne at the age of 3 when the Dowager Empress Cixi chose him after murdering the former emperor, his uncle, for attempting reforms that she did not approve of. His father, Prince Ch'un served as a regent and he did not meet his mother (Who killed herself over a dispute between the consorts about the upbringing of her child) or other siblings until he was seven.

In 1911, the Qing Dynasty collapsed and Pu Yi was deposed (Pu Yi was allowed by Sun Yat-Sen to remain resident in the Forbidden City). However, six years after the abdication, a warlord named Chang Hsun decided to restore Pu Yi to power. His army surrounded Beijing and forced the local government to accept his demands. Six days later there was an air raid on the Forbidden City, and Beijing was again surrounded, but this time by the troops of the new government. Pu Yi was again forced to resign. Until 1927 when another warlord, Feng Yu Hsiu, a communist, forced Pu Yi to leave the Forbidden City and go and live in his father's mansion, the emperor-in-name learned history and poetry, married, and attempted to escape to the outside world.

After leaving the Forbidden City, his first consort, Wen Hsiu, soon asked for a divorce despite getting along well. Although this had never happened in the Imperial Family before, Pu Yi was forced to accept because he did not want a public scandal.

In 1931, after the invasion of Manchuria the Japanese proclamed Pu Yi the emperor. Although he was in name, he had little power, and was nothing more than a figurehead. When the war ended, he was captured by the Russians, and forced to testify at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, then sent back to China.

Following prison, Pu Yi was "taught" the teachings of the Communists and released in 1959. He died in 1964 having written an autobiography.

For a good movie about the life of Pu Yi, try The Last Emperor

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