Tune in as Professor Rana Mitter explores Chinese history through the stories of key personalities, starting with China's only female emperor, Wu Zetian.
To illustrate the diversity and complexity of Chinese society from early times to the twentieth century, the series will discuss an eclectic range of characters spanning geography as well as time. Professor Mitter introduces listeners to a cosmopolitan Mongol emperor, to girls working in sweatshop conditions in Shanghai's factories, but he also sheds more light on familiar political figures, including Mao Zedong, and Chiang Kai-Shek and Soong Meiling, dubbed Asia's first 'power couple'.
The twenty-part series is presented by Professor Mitter on BBC Radio 4 on weekdays from Monday 9 April at 1.45 pm. The first programme charts Wu Zetian's rise from humble beginnings to Emperor in the medieval Tang dynasty, and now feminist icon.