Lessons from China's history

Lessons from China's history

Wee Kek Koon draws parallels between current events and trends and episodes and attitudes in China’s past.

How and why men became eunuchs in imperial China
The presence of eunuchs in the Forbidden City, the ancient home to many Chinese emperors, was a long-standing tradition. These emasculated men served as palace menials, spies and harem watchdogs. An army of eunuchs was attached to the court, primarily to safeguard the imperial ladies’ chastity. Confucian values deemed it vital for the emperor, seen as heaven’s representative on Earth, to produce a direct male heir to maintain harmony between heaven and Earth. Not wanting to leave anything to chance during a period with a high infant mortality rate, the world’s largest harem was placed at the emperor’s disposal to ensure enough heirs would survive into adulthood.     A 2,000-year system Cour
How and why men became eunuchs in imperial China