This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (April 2011)
Writer Lu Xun was not buried alive by Chiang Kai-shek, but succumbed to illness in 1936
Allegations that the Chinese Communist Party also profited from the sale of narcotics (Pakula does not cite a source, though this is a major claim in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday's Mao: The Unknown Story)
Seth Faison of the LA Times Book Review noted "a few factual errors and cultural slip-ups", found Pakula "tone-deaf to the subtleties of Chinese culture and history", and thought the title "The Last Empress" was inappropriate (calling Soong instead "the first and most influential first lady ever" of modern China).