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"Ruling behind the curtain" (垂簾聽政) is how Empress Dowager Cixi rules over the Chinese empire. She seized power in 1861 and has since acted as the regent for several infant emperors. During an audience, the emperor sits on the throne, behind which Cixi sits, with a curtain separating them. Cixi is behind the curtain because a female cannot get involved in politics in a patriarchy like China. Despite that, Cixi is the de facto ruler of the country; the emperor is just a puppet. And now, Guangxu the boy emperor has grown up. He wants to rule the nation on his own. Conflicts between the emperor and the regent therefore begin.
In this clip, Cixi examines a concubine of the emperor who interferes with government affairs, because the law prohibits females from politics. Ironically, Cixi herself is ruling the country, which could also be considered a political activity.
This clip is from a 2010 historical and political drama, "The Firmament of the Pleiades" (蒼穹之昴). The drama stars Japanese actress Yuko Tanaka (田中裕子) as Empress Dowager Cixi.
Channel Bright Mirror Hung High