Kin of Last Chinese Emperor Hold Reunion

Descendents of China’s last emperor Puyi gathered in Beijing on Thursday to mark the publication of a new series of books. Barbara Demick at The Los Angeles Times details the family’s memories of Puyi and their rocky path through the Communist era:

In a rare reunion of one of China’s most famous families, four relatives of the late Emperor Puyi convened Thursday at the willow-fringed lakefront mansion in Beijing where he was born in 1906. One of the more reviled figures of Chinese history, Puyi was elevated to the throne as a 2-year-old and abdicated at age 6, only to be reinstalled as a puppet of the Japanese occupation during World War II.

[…] There’s considerable curiosity in China about those remaining royal family members, but their existence does not carry the same cachet as elsewhere, perhaps because of decades of anti-imperialist indoctrination by communists. The relatives hardly ever get together, and even less often in public — royal blood being something you don’t advertise in a communist country — but made an exception to mark the publication of a new series of books about their family.

[…] Zheng, his niece, recalled that Puyi once tried to take a bus, but being chivalrous, let all the women get on first. One of them was the conductor, and the bus left without him. Another time, she went with him to a shop near the botanical garden and realized he had never used money.

See also Biography of Last Chinese Eunuch Reveals a Tumultuous Life, via CDT.

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