Gordon Chen

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Gordon Chen (1821-1907) is a character in the James Clavell Asian Saga novels Tai-Pan and Gai-Jin. He is the illegitimate Chinese/Scottish son of Dirk Struan, founder of Struan's Trading Company, called the "Noble House". At the time of the novel Tai-Pan, he is about twenty.

Chen decided he would be "more Chinese than British". He was remarkably intelligent and a very skilled businessman. He longed for recognition of some kind from his father, and decided to become indispensable to him. Through a deal made between Dirk Struan and Jin-qua, Gordon Chen managed part of Struan's money, investing in land and businesses like moneylending. He succeeded his adopted father Chen Sheng as comprador of Struan's during the time where Culum Struan was Tai-pan.

Chen became the leader of the Hong Kong Triads at a very young age and, partly due to financial help from his father and also due to running protection rackets, became the richest man in Hong Kong. He kept this piece of information away from his father. His position was nearly ruined when his status as head of the Triad was revealed; fortunately the fact was dismissed as a lie, although Dirk Struan was not entirely convinced of this.

As part of his efforts to protect his father, he arranged for the assassination of Gorth Brock and tried to acquire a cure for May–May's malaria.

Chen planned on placing spies on Struan's ships, and by the time of the novel Gai-Jin, his spies had been placed among the Chinese servants of important European officials in Japan.

He became known as Illustrious Chen for his great wealth and social status among the native Chinese people of Hong Kong by the time of the novel Gai-Jin. It is revealed in the "Noble House" that he became "Sir Gordon Chen" and had raised Dirk Struan's children from his mistress Chung May May.