Feng Liao

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Feng Liao (冯缭) was China's first official female diplomat. She represented the Han dynasty to Wusun (乌孙), which was in the Western Regions. It was a practice for the Imperial Court to foster alliances with the northern tribes via marriage, and two Han princesses had married Wusun kings.

Feng Liao was the maidservant of Princess Jieyou (解忧公主), who had been married off to a Wusun king. Feng herself later married an influential Wusun general, whose good standing with Prince Wujiutu of the kingdom later proved beneficial to the Han dynasty.

When Prince Wujiutu seized the throne of Wusun in 64BC, after his father passed away, there was fear in the Imperial Court of Han that Wujiutu, whose mother was Xiongnu, would allow Wusun to become the Xiongnu's vassal.

Zheng Ji, Governor of the Western Regions, recalled that Feng Liao had married into Wusun and with her familiarity of the Wusun customs, she was a prime candidate to persuade Wujiutu to ally his kingdom with Han. Wujiutu acceded and Emperor Xuan (宣) sent for Feng. He praised her for her judgement and diplomacy, and appointed her the official envoy to Wusun.

Wujiutu was conferred the title "Little King of Wusun" while his brother, the son by a Han princess, was named "Great King of Wusun". Wusun was divided between the two kings and tensions in that region were eased.