Lead: Powerful, cunning and ruthless, Tzu-Hsi, Empress Dowager of China, effectively ruled the for five decades.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1852, at the age of seventeen, the young beauty Tzu-Hsi was conscripted from the lower middle ranks of Manchu society to become one of the concubines at court of the Emperor Hsien-Feng. Behind the walls of the Forbidden City she began to learn the arts of intrigue. There in sequestered luxury Chinese emperors lived among a vast retinue of submissive officials, eunuchs, concubines and servants. Tzu-His learned well. Through sheer force of character and cunning this ingenious woman became one of the most powerful women in the history of China.