China's last emperor, Pu Yi, was impotent and unable to father an heir to the dragon throne, claims author Jia Yinghua in a forthcoming book. 'When he was younger he was perverted by the eunuchs who surrounded him in the Forbidden City and later he became a homosexual,' Jia said shortly before the rights to his book, Decoding the Secrets of The Last Marriage of the Last Emperor, were sold at auction. The author revealed new details of the emperor's last marriage. 'He was unable to perform normally and did not have sexual relations with his wife or concubine,' said Jia, the author of a string of best-selling books about the end of the Manchu dynasty. Many of the revelations about the life of Pu Yi come from his last wife, Li Shuxian, whom Jia got to know in the 1970s. 'She was very frustrated after she married him. She wanted to have children and applied to divorce him but permission was refused,' he said. 'One day she followed him to the hospital and discovered he was receiving injections to treat his problem.' Li, who died a few years ago, was a nurse when she married Pu Yi after his 1959 release from prison. He was 55 and she was 37. Jia also revealed previously unknown details about her life. She started her career working in a Shanghai nightclub called Bailemen. 'I don't think she was a prostitute . . . Customers would buy a ticket to dance with her,' he said. 'Later she came to Beijing to work in a small dance hall south of Tiananmen Square. She stayed with a friend, called Hu Yuzhen, who did work as a prostitute,' he said. 'She is dead now but I often went to her home.' Jia denied that the marriage was a deliberate attempt to humiliate the emperor. He said Li's background was actually a source of embarrassment that was later hushed up. 'When the Public Security Bureau found out about her real background, it was too late. They only found out when she complained to Premier Zhou Enlai,' he said. Li had also been married twice before, once to a police captain who was executed by the KMT and once to a bank official. That marriage only lasted a year. 'Premier Zhou refused to agree to their divorce, pointing out that his marriage, too, was childless,' said Jia, who claims to have seen the record in Zhou's file. The unlikely marriage between the puppet Manchu emperor and the dance hall temptress was the work of Hu Yuzhen, Mr Jia said. 'At that time, the Communist Party wanted to make Pu Yi an ordinary citizen and give him an ordinary life so they tried to introduce him to an ordinary girl.' Hu Yuzhen was working in the People's Publishing House and as Li Shuxian had no relatives, she represented her family at the marriage registration on April 30, 1962. There was no elaborate ceremony. Pu Yi was working as a gardener in the botanical gardens and earned just 100 yuan a month. 'Li Shuxian's life was quite hard. Before she married him, she thought he was quite wealthy and still owned a lot of treasures from the Imperial City,' Jia said. Soon afterwards, she spent 100 yuan on a bottle of perfume and they quarrelled when they had nothing left to live on. He was still barely capable of looking after himself and performing household chores. At the time, Pu Yi's possessions were contained in one leather suitcase which he took to the prison in Lushun and then to his home, part of a courtyard house inside the Guangyin Temple in Xizhimen, Beijing. The couple had only a sofa, a telephone and a carpet which was only brought out for visitors. A doorkeeper who was also a party official kept watch on the numerous visitors, who included Mao Zedong, foreign journalists and diplomats. 'Red Guards stormed his house and searched it three times but could find nothing valuable,' said Jia. The guards, who included a nephew, did not beat him but other members of his family were persecuted, including a brother-in-law who committed suicide. Premier Zhou ordered Pu Yi be isolated for his own protection. He died in hospital in 1967. Jia's mother become acquainted with his widow in the early 1970s. They belonged to the same neighbourhood committee and found themselves digging an air-raid shelter together. Jia and his brother helped Li move house three times and used to collect her pension. He also recently tracked down many of those who served in prison with Pu Yi and worked with him at the botanical gardens, and the doorkeeper. He also spoke with Sun Bosheng, one of Pu Yi's boy servants in Changchun, who wrote letters during the Cultural Revolution trying to have Pu Yi persecuted. Jia said the strain of such threats might have contributed to Pu Yi's death. He interviewed Li Yuqin, Pu Yi's last concubine, who revealed details about his impotence. Jia said there were other secrets of the emperor's sexual inclinations which he would keep secret to protect sources who are still alive. 'He grew up in a strange atmosphere from the beginning,' the author said.