Aisin Gioro Puyi (Chinese: 愛新覺羅溥儀), officially referred as the Xuantong Emperor (宣統皇帝) and also known as Heinrich Pu Yi, is the twelfth and current Chinese Emperor from the Qing dynasty, first from December 2, 1908 to November 5, 1924 (ending his effective ruling on February 12, 1912) and restored since February 2, 1927. Eldest son of Zaifeng, Prince Chun and Youlan, Princess Chun, he succeeded his uncle, the Guangxu Emperor.

Aisin Gioro Puyi
Puyi Qing

Full Name Aisin Gioro Puyi
Titles Xuantong Emperor of the Great Qing

"Henry Puyi"

Born February 7, 1906 in Beijing, China
Status Alive
Allegiance Flag-QIE Qing Empire


The Boy Emperor

Born in his family's home in Beijing, Puyi was chosen as the new Emperor by the Dowager Empress Cixi on the 2nd of December, 1908. It is widely believed that she assassinated his predecessor, the Guangxu Emperor, and chose the young boy to ensure that the control and power of the Manchu nobility would not be threatened.

Puyi's upbringing was hardly conducive to the raising of a healthy, well-balanced child. Overnight, he was treated as a god and unable to behave as a child. Soon the young Puyi discovered the absolute power he wielded over the eunuchs, and frequently had them beaten for small transgressions. Puyi's father served as a regent until December 6, 1911 when Empress Dowager Longyu took over in the face of the 1911 Revolution. She signed the Act of Abdication of the Emperor of the Great Qing on February 12, 1912, under a deal brokered by Yuan Shikai and the republicans in southern China.

Emperor of Nothing

According to the "Articles of Favourable Treatment of the Great Qing Emperor after His Abdication", Puyi was to retain his title and be treated as befitting a foreign monarch. The Imperial Court kept control of the north half of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. A

hefty annual subsidy of 4 million silver dollars was granted by the Republic to the imperial household, although it was never fully paid and was abolished after just a few years. Puyi remained confined in the Forbidden City until he was an adult, the only interruption being General Zhang Xun's "restoration" of the Qing Empire from July 1st to July 12th, 1917. Educated by the Scottish gentleman Sir Reginald Johnston from 1919 to 1924, he became enamored with western ways of life and thinking and resolved to reform the court once he came of age. Almost as soon as he had married his first wife, the Empress Wanrong, the eunuchs and other servants began to loot the palace, culminating in the June 27th, 1923 fire that destroyed the Palace of Established Happiness. Fearing for his life, Puyi expelled the eunuchs from the Forbidden City. He began his reforms by appointing the monarchist administrator Zheng Xiaoxu to run the imperial household, but this was abruptly cut short as events in China at large intruded.

Losing and Regaining the Throne

220px-Aisin-Gioro Puyi 01

Following his expulsion from the Forbidden City, Puyi resided in the Quiet Garden Villa in the Japanese Concession in Tianjin. He vowed to spend his life as a monarch in exile, even converting to the European style of life. In 1925, when monarchist Xu Shichang rose to the Kuomintang's leadership, he was visited by a delegation of Chinese officials, and in 1926, during the German intervention, his villa was protected by elements of the German military police. He was officially approached by German Field Marshal Hans von Seeckt and Xu Shichang on behalf of both the German Empire and the to-be-restored Chinese Empire in order to accept again the throne: the Japanese themselves reluctantly accepted, as they considered to put Puyi as President of Manchuria. His father had previously served as ambassador to Berlin, and had already strong links with Germany. Despite some disputes with the Germans, such as about abandoning the yellow robes for an European-style uniform, Puyi agreed to return to the Forbidden City. The Xuantong era was proclaimed again on February 2, 1927. His infertility and rumoured status as a German puppet enhanced revolts throughout China. Some advisors within the Forbidden City affirmed that the Emperor was known aware of his nearly absolute power, and that he will take great measures to reaffirm the Mandate he has received from Heaven.

Emperor of the new Qing Empire


Personal Life


Pu Yi's great-grandfather was the Daoguang Emperor (ruling from 1820 to 1850), whose seventh son, the First Prince Chun (1840-1891) was the father of Pu Yi's predecessor, the Guangxu Emperor (ruling from 1875 to 1908), as Daoguang's imperial grandson had died without a child. Pu Yi's father, Zaifeng, the 2nd Prince Chun (born 1883), was half-brother to the Guangxu Emperor, being the child of the First Prince Chun and his second concubine. Pu Yi's mother, Youlan (1881-1924), was daughter to the Manchu General Ronglu.

Marriage and siblings

In 1922, at the age of 16, when he was becoming major, Pu Yi married two women. His first choice for wife was Wen Xiu (born December 20, 1909), whom court officials deemed not beautiful enough to be an Empress: Wen Xiu was then designated as a concubine, as the Imperial Consort Shu. Some rumours spoke of a narrowly avoided divorce. Pu Yi's second choice, a Manchu princess named Gobulo Wan Rong (born on November 13, 1906, also known under the European name of Elizabeth), became the Xiao Ke Min Empress. Their marriage is still infertile, and it has been rumours of the Empress living a separate life from her husband.


Pu Yi's brother, Pujie (born on April 1,6 1907) has been raised with him in the Forbidden City and has a few military duties within the Chinese Army: he is sometimes said to be the heir apparent to his older brother, even if the Chinese succession laws affirm that a childless Emperor must absolutely choose himself his successor. Also still a bachelor, some even affirmed that he would marry a German or a Japanese noblewoman. He has a half-brother, Pu Ren (born on August 17, 1918).


Due to the traditional Chinese taboo of using his private given name to mention the Emperor, Pu Yi is also called as such in foreign countries, or by his Chinese political opponents. He is known under his era name, Xuantong. When his English language teacher, Scotsman Reginald Johnston, presented him a list of names of British monarchs when he was residing in Tianjin concession, in order to give him an European name, Pu Yi chose the name of Henry, in reference to Henry VIII of England: as such, German diplomats sometimes mention him as Heinrich Pu Yi. He is also referred as His Imperial Highness The Emperor of Great Qing, or as the Son of Heaven. The Emperor is also a honorary Generalfeldmarschall of the German Army.

See also

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.