Li Ch'ou Tzu ("Precious Hawk")

Li Ch'ou Tzu, otherwise known as "Precious Hawk," was a senior Red Lantern disciple of the Holy Mother of the Yellow Lotus who commanded a score of sister-disciples raised in Tientsin during the final years of the 19th Century.

She was born in 1883, in the village of Chwang Chang, eight miles upriver from Yang Ts'un. She spent most of her life living with her parents and grandparents as a common peasant girl. However, during the famine of 1895, when her whole family was starving, her father sold her as a slave to a well-fed foreign missionary passing through Chwang Chang. The protestant reverend took the 12-year-old Ch'ou Tzu to his mission as a slavegirl for his wife ("slavery is perfectly legal here in China"). Ch'ou Tzu spent the next three years as a slave of the couple, constantly being beaten and whipped to force her to learn English. It was during this time that she developed her burning hatred of the foreign devils infesting China.

In 1898, at the age of 15, she killed her owners with a kitchen knife and stole herself out of slavery. Not wishing to return to the village of her birth and not knowing what else to do, she fled to the city of Tientsin, intending to lose herself in the giant metropolis. It is unknown exactly how she met Lin Hei'er ["Yellow Lotus"], the wife of Li Youchuan (no relation), but she joined the Hung Têng Chao and began training in both the martial art of the Moi Fah and the spiritual art of magic. It soon became apparent that Ch'ou Tzu was gifted in the arts of magic, and she grew to become the Holy Mother’s most favored disciple ... a status that ended when she fell in love with the son of a demon, and defended him against her sister disciples.

1902 photo of Li Ch'ou Tzu, Age 19

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Copyright 2021 Joseph Benedetto Jr.