Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Hsien-Ko Chang
Book - The Shadow of Weng-Chiang
The Shadow of Weng-Chiang
(David A. McIntee)
 Name: Hsien-Ko Chang

 Format: Book

 Time of Origin: Confronted The Doctor in Shanghai in 1937.

 Appearances: "The Shadow of Weng-Chiang"

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor

 Companions: K9 and 1st Romana

 History: Hsien-Ko Chang is in many ways one of The Doctor’s most tragic adversaries, as she had the potential to be an ally and a great asset to the world were it not for the fact that she was motivated primarily by her desire for revenge against a man who had died over four decades before The Doctor met her. The daughter of Li H’sen Chang - the Chinese peasant who discovered the time-travelling despot Magnus Greel upon his arrival in 1872 - Hsien-Ko was unintentionally rendered immortal due to her father’s exposure to the zygma energy Greel used to power his time cabinet, the energy leaving her sterile while also irradiating her cells with chronon energy and significantly slowing the aging process (It was never specified if she simply aged normally until a certain point and then stopped or merely aged slowly). Thanks to her father’s access to the technological secrets of Magnus Greel, combined with her own natural intellect, Hsien-Ko swiftly became a genius in various fields far in advance of most of her contemporaries.

Magnus Greel
Magnus Greel
 Hsien-Ko was also responsible for discovering a highly intriguing side-effect of Magnus Greel’s use of his Time Cabinet. Due to Greel’s zygma beam having intersected with Earth’s telluric current, the zygma beam created teleportation ‘paths’ - known as the Dragon Paths - by sending ripples of chronon energy along them, Hsien-Ko’s chronon-irradiated blood providing her followers with a means of accessing these paths for near-instantaneous teleportation across the globe thanks to the chronon sources being aligned. Aided by this ‘gift’, Hsien-Ko was able to rise to a position of command in the Tong of the Black Scorpion, although she was always tormented by her inability to have children and the knowledge that those she loved would die before her. A particularly significant relationship at this time was her bond with her second in command Kwok, the two having fallen deeply in love only a short while after their first meeting, although Hsien-Ko refused to actually marry him until she had completed her work and punished Greel for his actions; throughout their time together, Kowk regularly demonstrated an almost fanatical devotion to her, once or twice even disobeying her orders in the belief that he was helping her, although she always assured him that she knew what she was doing.

Despite all her varied accomplishments in this time- one of the more questionable being her reactivation of the Peking Homunculus ‘Mr Sin’, using the protoype command circuit to replace the one The Doctor had destroyed and acquiring substitute pig brain matter from the local slaughterhouses after the original decayed-, Hsien-Ko was constantly driven by a need for revenge against Greel for what he had done to her father, believing that only The Doctor’s intervention had allowed Chang to die with dignity. To this end, Hsien-Ko intended to amplify the power of the Dragon Paths where they intersected at the sacred mountain of T’ai Shan - the location where Greel had originally arrived - using a nuclear power plant she had developed from stolen Japanese supplies to enhance the natural piezoelectric energy of the mountain. The enhanced power would create a chronon feedback that would short out the zygma beam and release fifty years’ worth of energy, turning the Dragon Paths into a means of travelling in time as well as space… simultaneously drawing Greel’s time cabinet to 1937 by disrupting the beam before it could reach its original termination point. Having ‘rescued’ Greel, Hsien-Ko intended to capture him, forcing him to live for all eternity in a near-death state; based on her father’s diaries, she had redesigned Greel’s extraction chamber to draw life energy from even small animals, intending to trap Greel in an isolated area where passing animals would keep him at just the point of death while unable to escape or die.

Mr Sin
Mr Sin
 The Doctor eventually came in contact with Hsien-Ko in 1937 while he was searching for the Key to Time with Romana and K9, the tracer for the Key’s segments being drawn off-course due to chronon energy generated by the Dragon Paths preventing the tracer from getting a lock on the fourth segment after discovering the third on Earth ("The Stones of Blood"). Tracking the chronon energy to Shanghai, The Doctor and Romana found Hsien-Ko and her men engaged in a deal at the docks, Hsien-Ko instantly recognising The Doctor from her father’s diaries. Aided by vigilante Yan Cheh - really nightclub owner Woo seeking to help the people of Shanghai against their corrupt government -, The Doctor and Romana deduced Hsien-Ko’s plan and the nature of the Dragon Paths, Hsien-Ko leaving them alive in the hopes that she could use their more advanced knowledge to improve her own work. Although she believed The Doctor would side with her, he instantly rejected Hsien-Ko’s plan when he learned about it; putting aside his obvious moral objections to her actions, by drawing Greel into the present she would be creating a temporal paradox that could effectively negate her entire existence, as she would only be ‘saving’ Greel by using information she had acquired due to Greel’s time in the past, simultaneously cancelling out her original ‘infection’ by the zygma energy and creating a highly dangerous temporal paradox.

 Outraged at The Doctor’s accusations that she was just like Greel, sacrificing innocents in the name of her own ‘genius’, Hsien-Ko had him locked up as the reactor began to build power towards the moment when Greel would be drawn off-course. Fortunately, an attack on Sin by a traitor in the Tong disrupted Hsien-Ko’s control over him, the subsequent battle as Sin slaughtered the Tong soldiers indiscriminately damaging the reactor, forcing Hsien-Ko to allow The Doctor to repair it to prevent a nuclear explosion… only to learn that it was too late to stop Greel’s cabinet from being drawn to the present. As Hsien-Ko and Kwok awaited Greel’s arrival, The Doctor and Romana were forced to use the TARDIS - Hsien-Ko having brought it to her base, having deduced that it was The Doctor’s ‘Time Cabinet’ -, The Doctor using the TARDIS to ‘shove’ the Cabinet back on course… only for the resulting temporal feedback as the zygma beam was short-circuited to completely vaporise Hsien-Ko, although all memory of her remained as the zygma beam wasn’t a closed loop and the chronons only affected her. Although Kwok vowed revenge on The Doctor for the death of Hsien-Ko, he has never confronted The Doctor again after The Doctor’s departure to resume the search for the Key to Time.
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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