Jin-qua is a significant character in James Clavell's novel "Tai-Pan." He is the elderly and powerful leader of the Chinese community in Hong Kong and a close ally of the British traders, particularly Dirk Struan, the Tai-Pan of the Noble House. Jin-qua is a shrewd and calculating businessman, who uses his knowledge of Chinese culture and society to maintain his power and influence. He is also a skilled mediator and negotiator, often acting as an intermediary between the British and Chinese factions in Hong Kong.
In the novel, Jin-qua is instrumental in brokering a peace treaty between the British and Chinese during a time of political upheaval in China. He is also involved in several power struggles, including a bitter rivalry with the corrupt Chinese merchant Wu Kwok, who seeks to overthrow Jin-qua and seize control of the Chinese community in Hong Kong.
Clavell portrays Jin-qua as a complex and multifaceted character, embodying both the traditional values of Chinese society and the pragmatic approach of a successful businessman. His character serves as a bridge between the British and Chinese cultures, providing insight into the intricacies of Chinese society and helping to facilitate communication and understanding between the two groups.
As Jin-qua says in the book: "My strength is in knowing the Chinese, and in knowing the English. And in being trusted by both" (Clavell, Tai-Pan, p. 60). His character is an embodiment of the cultural and economic complexities of Hong Kong during the colonial era, and a testament to the power of diplomacy and negotiation in the face of political and social unrest.
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