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Lu Ping. Lu Ping was the creation of the Chinese author Sun Liaohong and appeared in a number of stories and novels from at least 1923 to 1949.

Lu Ping is a Lupin. Lu is described in his stories as the "Oriental Arsène Lupin," and is in most ways a Lupin pastiche. However, Lu Ping was created skillfully enough, and was popular enough, that he took on a life of his own, transcending the limitations of mere pastiche and becoming a notable character in his own right. Lu is nonchalant about everything. He whistles while he burgles, he mutters wisecracks and asides to the reader in a snappy, American hard-boiled-influenced patois, and he disguises himself in any of a dozen identities. Lu is owed favors from the vast Shanghai underground and from men and women in every walk of life.

The police rarely if ever pose Lu any difficulty; he's just too damn good at wriggling out of dilemmas and difficulties. Though charming, Lu lacks Arsène Lupin’s sense of honor and chivalric righteousness and steals only to relieve his own poverty. On occasion, however, Lu performs pieces of detection and crime-solving and even takes on enemies of China, such as the Blue Rattlesnake, a Japanese Femme Fatale and spy. Lu claims to be acquainted with the real Arsène Lupin, and Lu’s duels with Huo Sang are a knowing evocation on Sun Liaohang’s part of the "Arsène Lupin vs. Sherlock Holmes" stories.

* I'm including the Lu Ping stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because Lu Ping became an archetypal character. The fame of the Arsene Lupin novels, and the craze for Western popular fiction in the 1920s and 1930s, combined to produce Lu Ping, the "Oriental Arsene Lupin." Sun Liaohong's skill as a writer resulted in Lu Ping becoming popular and well-known and then becoming the iconic Chinese master thief, a development helped by Sun Liaohang's use of Lu Ping in the Chinese version of the Arsene-Lupin-vs-Sherlock-Holmes duels. Chinese Lupins appearing after Lu Ping's debut were inevitably influenced by him in some way, and if not for the 1949 Revolution Lu Ping's influence could easily have stretched into the 1960s. 

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