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Jin-Qua was a merchant who possessed a monopoly on all the foreign trade in China during the early 19th century.
With the arrival of the British merchants and the establishment of Hong Kong, he began cultivating a relationship with Dirk Struan, the tai-pan of the Noble House, the chief trading company in Hong Kong. He arranged for two of his own descendants to become Struan's misstresses.
The second was T'Chung Jin May-may, Jin-Qua's granddaughter. She was secretly assigned the task of teaching Struan civilized ways.
In 1841, Struan's was on the brink of ruin, about to be destroyed by rival Tyler Brock. In desperation, Dirk Struan turned to Jin-Qua, who lent him one million sterling in specie. In return, Struan agreed that a member of the Chen family would forever be compradore of Noble House, the first being Gordon Chen.
Additionally, four bronze coins were split in half, with Dirk Struan given one half of each coin. Struan agreed that whenever anyone presented the tai-pan with another half-coin, the tai-pan would be obliged to grant that person one favor, whether legal or illegal. Furthermore, this obligation was handed down to all successive tai-pans (who could only become tai-pan after first blindly swearing to uphold these agreements).
Of the four coins, one was kept by Jin-Qua, one given to the warlord Wu Fang Choi, one given to Gordon Chen, and one given out in secret.
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