The Empress Wu Tse-Tien (武則天; Wǔ Zétiān) is a 1939 Chinese historical film based on the life of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. Produced by The Shanghai Xinhua, directed by Fang Peilin, the film starred Gu Lanjun as the titular character.
In this biographical drama, Wu Tse-tien, a Chinese empress who ruled during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906), is desperate to keep her throne. To maintain her status she begins massacring any and everyone, including her own sons, that might oppose her.
—Wu Zetian (624 – 705)
Huaiyi, Xue Huaiyi (薛懷義; died 694) was a Buddhist monk who was known for being the lover of Wu Zetian.
He met Empress Wu when she was 61 years old. He worked in various minor jobs in Luoyang and was in a relationship with the Maid of Princess Qianjin before he was introduced to Wu Zetian by the princess. Wu favored him greatly, and ordered him to be ordained as a monk to facilitate his access to the court. Wu even had him adopted into the clan of her son-in-law Xue Shao (薛紹), in order to elevate his status.
In addition to accompanying Wu Zetian, Xue also managed the construction of two great palace courts – Ming Tang (Imperial Meeting Hall) and Tian Tang (Heavenly Hall). He also conducted a military expedition to Tujue (Turkey) though the troops of Tujue had withdrawn at that time.
Xue grew increasingly arrogant and unreasonable and intervening in state affairs, and his demise finally came when he deliberately set fire to the Ming Tang and Tian Tang to the Empress’ affair with the imperial physician Shen Nanqiu. The Empress lost all her patience with him and and began to despise him. Huaiyi suspiciously died two weeks after the fire (694 CE). It is said that Huaiyi’s body was taken to White Horse Temple and cremated, and then mixed into mud that was set to be used to construct a pagoda.