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Fu Manchu (I). Fu Manchu (I) was created by “Sax Rohmer,” the pseudonym of Arthur Sarsfield Ward (Bimbâshi Barûk, Bazarada, Major Bernard de Treville, Paul Harley, Red Kerry, Moris Klaw, Gaston Max, Captain O’Hagan, Abû Tabâh), and appeared in forty-one stories and story serials and fifteen novels from 1912 to 1959, beginning with “The Zayat Kiss” (The Story-Teller, Oct. 1912).
Fu Manchu (I) is the greatest of the Yellow Perils. Fu Manchu is the leader of the Si Fan, a secret international society of murderers which consists of Chinese Tongs, Indian Phansigars and Thuggees, Burmese dacoits, Syrian Hashishin, and Sea-Dyaks of Borneo, among other Asian groups. Fu Manchu is an elderly Chinese doctor and scholar who has been scheming towards power since the reign of the Empress Dowager in the 19th century. He is distantly related to the Manchu Dynasty and tried to strengthen the dynasty and limit Western influence in China through a series of abductions and assassinations. After the fall of the Manchu Dynasty he broadened his war against the West, using the Si Fan to strike against his enemies and the enemies of China. In Fu Manchu’s words, his ultimate goal is to
restore the lost glories of China–my China. When your Western civilization, as you are pleased to term it, has exterminated itself, when from the air you have bombed to destruction your palaces and your cathedrals, when in your blindness you have permitted machines to obliterate humanity, I shall arise. I shall survey the smoking ashes which once were England, the ruins that were France, the red dust of Germany, the distant fire that was the great United States. Then I shall laugh. My hour at last!
Fu Manchu is a Chinese patriot whose plans are all aimed at strengthening China and weakening its enemies. In addition to the Si Fan, Fu Manchu has an unmatched knowledge of both Eastern and Western medicine, a knowledge he uses to create poisons, gasses, and drugs for his plans. He makes use of non-Western creatures for his killings, from scorpions to adders to an Abyssinian half-man, half-baboon. He also has an almost supernatural ability to hypnotize. Although in the later novels Fu Manchu personally operates around the world, in the early novels his headquarters are in Limehouse, England.
Fu Manchu has a singular appearance:
Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government--which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.
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