Also used in the courts of ancient China to produce eunuchs, castrated male servants who could be trusted to be in close proximity to the Emperor. To be near the Emperor was to be near his harem, so naturally few men were allowed to be in his presence. Eunuchs were considered safe, since they had neither the will nor the ability to "sample the goods" as it were. As a result, eunuchs could gain special leverage with the Emperor, due to their proximity to him, and be appointed to high government offices. Towards the end of the 19th century, some of the most powerful men in the country were eunuchs.