The Empress was born with the given name Lin (林). Her full name at birth was Zhou Lin. Upon her coronation she adopted the name Shenglong (神龍), which is the name of a holy dragon in Chinese mythology, she also added the name Wu (吴) to her name, in honor of her ancestor Wu Zetian.
The empress was born in February 17 1980 in the Forbidden City, Beijing as Wu Lin Zhou, the daughter of Emperor Wu Shao Zhou and his wife, Empress Lin Shan. Her younger brother Wu Li was born 2 years later. She was first in line for the throne, destined to become empress, like her ancestor, Wu Zetian. She was educated at a private school and learned to speak Chinese as well as English and also in culture, history, the arts and politics. An intelligent girl she was an excellent student and graduated at Beijing University in 2000. Her father feeled that the time had come to pass the throne to his daughter.
In February 2001 the emperor announced that after 40 years of reign, he would abdicate in favor of his daughter. On March 18 she was officially crowned as Empress regnant of China, the last reigning empress was Empress Huo-Ting (who ruled before her father), ascending the throne as Empress Shenglong. Lin was young and inexperienced, but she was smart and ambitious. She proved to be a very capable and wise ruler, the changes that she made ensured China's continuing prosperity. In her personal life she is know to be a friendly, strict, but fair person. People from all over the world have praised her for her actions. In 2010 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "her excellent actions to consolidate international relations and peaceful diplomacy". Among her many hobby's are tennis, fencing, writing and martial arts. She is known to be a gifted in martial arts and is a master in Chinese Kung Fu.
In 1997 while attending Beijing University she met Zhao Shang, a fellow student. The two became good friends in the following months. They grew closer and eventually they fell in love. In 2001 Lin became Empress of China and a few months later Lin and Shang announced their engagement. On April 23 they were married in the Great Hall of the Weiyang Palace and Shang became Emperor consort of China. The couple are popular among the people and openly express affection for each other. In 2 June 2013 Empress Wu announced she was pregnant with her first child. The child will become first in the line of succession once he or she is born.
On 5 December Empress Wu gave birth to twins, a girl: Shui and a boy: Han. Princess Shui was born first, she is first in the line of succession, followed by her brother. The Empress and her husband have safely returned to the Forbidden City with their children.
| Imperial Styles of|
|Reference style||Her Imperial Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Imperial Majesty|
- 17 February 1980 - 18 March 2001: Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Zhou Lin
- 18 March 2001 - present: Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of China Wu Zhou Shenglong