Fact or fiction?

Qin Lan.
Qin Lan.
Charmaine Sheh.
Charmaine Sheh.

Chinese palace period dramas have gained legions of fans with tales of love, lies, politics and betrayals in the Forbidden City.

While many of these popular dramas, like those set in the Qing dynasty, take inspiration from real people of the time, plot lines are often plucked from showrunners' imaginations than history books. The Sunday Times explains what is true or false about the key characters in these shows.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'Fact or fiction?'. Print Edition | Subscribe