Jin Hui Di is the only ruler on this list of terrible Chinese emperors that deserves sympathy. Actual name 桀 (Jie). He was paranoid, brutal, cruel and sadistic. Few females in the palace were spared. He died in AD 1135, thousands of miles away from remnant Song territory. I'd rank them: 1. A wastrel who spent his days surrounded by music and the arts instead of attending to the crisis brewing on his borders. Cruelty, debauchery, political ineptitude? In other words, this sovereign was on strike for near half his reign. His standardization of language and currency, and the establishment of the capital as a center of control, also continued to benefit China long after his death. He burned almost all books and writings in China and had hundreds of scholars beheaded and buried alive. Reigned 1075 BC to 1046 BC. Featured image: A famous silk scroll, The Emperor's Approach, showing the luxury in which the Chinese emperor travelled during the Ming Dynasty, more than a thousand years after Fu Sheng’s short and brutal rule. Xia Jie. Or would it be disregard? He imposed excessive taxes on his people who could hardly survive to ensure the completion of the large construction projects including building the Grand Canal, reconstruction of the Great Wall, and redesigning the eastern capital of Luoyang. Many Chinese emperors achieve greatness in their earlier reigns, only to slip into debauchery and disregard in later years. While his empire disintegrated, Ming Shen Zong devoted his days to supervising the construction of his underground mausoleum. Reigned AD 550 to AD 559. Modern historians agree that Han Ai Di and Dong Xian likely had an active homosexual relationship, despite both being married and Dong Xian having children. The blatant shirking of responsibility as an empire’s leader and soul? His outrageous crimes continue to be regularly lamented in television and movie adaptations of The Investiture of the Gods. References. So it was said he also held lavish nightly parties and orgies within the unfinished structure. Actual name 刘欣 (Liu Xin). Reign: Disputed. Horrifically, he once beheaded a consort he suspected of infidelity, then tossed her head onto a banquet platter while fondling the corpse’s leg. Regardless, Ming Shen Zong’s blatant abandonment of his duties laid the groundwork for China’s occupation by the Manchus in AD 1644. That said, it is known that his troops were soundly defeated in 1046 BC at Muye by the Kingdom of Zhou, with Di Xin thereafter committing suicide. In AD 280, after 60 years of civil war between Cao Wei, Shu Han and Sun Wu, China was once again reunited as one under the Jin Dynasty. Among the many examples, Wen Xuan Di of Northern Qi during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period stands as the most appalling. It is also well- known that hundreds of thousands of peasants died during the construction of the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. As a result of the subsequent power grabbing, China was fragmented into three, giving rise to the famous Three Kingdoms Era. His interests include history, traveling, and mythology. Supposedly 1728 BC to 1675 BC. To give some numerical indications of his horrific rule, his reconstruction of the Great Wall resulted in six million workers losing their lives. Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked that “history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” This might particularly be so in the case of Di Xin, the last emperor of the Shang Dynasty. Wu Zetian (17 February 624 – 16 December 705), alternatively named Wu Zhao, Wu Hou, and during the later Tang dynasty as Tian Hou, was the de facto ruler of China, first through her husband the Emperor Gaozong and then through her sons the Emperors Zhongzong and Ruizong, from 665 to 690.She subsequently became empress regnant of the Zhou dynasty (周) of China, ruling from 690 to 705. During the Western Han Dynasty, male consorts openly existed within the imperial palace, these usually being handsome and artistic young men, or palace eunuchs. Intermittent conflict continued till AD 306, further weakening the fragile new empire. Incredible as it sounds, homosexuality was tolerated in Ancient China. The Ming Dynasty emperor who went on strike for 20 years. Actual name 受德 (Shoude). Sun Hao of Eastern Wu should have been on here. In AD 618, this despised emperor was finally strangled to death during a coup led by a top Sui general. Yang also launched several wars to conquer Goguryeo (one of the three kingdoms of Korea), only to wind up in failure each time. Worse, the court came to be dominated by eunuchs during his reign, the worst of these being the hated Zhang Rang. He burned almost all books and writings in China and had hundreds of scholars beheaded and buried alive. This irredeemably damaged the integrity of the already teetering Eastern Han Dynasty. Otherwise also known as Shang Zhou Wang (商纣王). Immortalized in the literary epic The Investiture of the Gods, Di Xin was described as a foul-natured tyrant hopelessly bewitched by Da Ji (妲己), the human manifestation of a nine-tailed vixen. This gave rise to the Chinese idiom, the passion of the cut sleeve (断袖之癖), which is a veiled way of referring to male homosexuality. During the invasion, Zhou You Wang was slaughtered while Bao Si was captured. Legend also goes that Song Hui Zong was lascivious, frequently leaving his palace incognito to visit courtesans, the most famous of these being the beauty Li Shishi. Similarities in the stories of Xie Jie and Di Xin led to academic speculations over whether both stories were gross exaggerations by Zhou Dynasty politicians. As an example of his stupidity, he once notoriously asked his court, if peasants are starving from lack of rice, why don’t they just switch to eating meat porridge? In the case of Han Ai Di, the young emperor became infatuated with the handsome Dong Xian (董贤) at first sight, to the extent he immediately bestowed an emissary position, in addition to allowing the younger man to sit on his lap. Of note, compared to other terrible Chinese emperors on this list, Han Ai Di wasn’t particularly cruel or wicked; he was simply a foolish young man head over heels in love. In several cases, their reigns were so terrifying, their titles became synonymous with evil and decadence. China was unified in 221 B.C. Indeed, while China has enjoyed many golden ages in its long history, it has suffered far more under terrible emperors, these running the entire gamut from the inept to the oblivious, to the downright psychotic. Their formal duties ranged from being mere attendants to important officials of the court. Respected in his youth for his military prowess as well as efforts to reduce corruption, Wen Xuan Di eventually succumbed to alcoholism, and by all accounts, was very possibly psychotic during his later reign. Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of China from 221 BC to 210 BC. According to Zhou Dynasty records dating several centuries later, Xie’s horrific rule eventually saw many of the kingdoms he held suzerainty over rallying under the Kingdom of Shang. In the political coup that followed, Dong Xian was forced by his rivals to commit suicide. He was said to be aware of his son’s condition but chose to ignore it for fear of his brothers replacing his lineage. At the sight of armies frantically rushing to the aid of the capital, the moody Bao Si finally broke into a hint of a smile. In 1368 he commanded the army that expelled the Mongol invaders who had ruled China for a century. Zhou You Wang was the twelfth ruler of the Western Zhou Dynasty and apart from his love story, little is known about him. Be glad you didn't live under any of these terrible Chinese emperors. Fond of grandiose projects, hungry to invade neighboring kingdoms, and absolutely decadent by nature, his decisions directly caused the death of millions of Chinese commoners, on top of bankrupting the Sui treasury. Historians continue to debate whether Xia, the first dynasty in traditional Chinese history, truly existed. Burma’s senior general Than Shwe holds the 6th position in our list of most evil rulers the world has ever see. Yang Guang (569-618), Emperor Yang of Sui, was the second emperor of Sui Dynasty (581-618). So as not to wake his lover, the emperor cut off his sleeve before leaving the bed. Soviet 4. Actual name 高洋 (Gao Yang). In his first year in power, over 120,000 families were forced to relocate from their homes.