The Shi-Ren are one of the factions of the Akashic Brotherhood. They are sometimes called the Benevolent Aristocrats, the Jade Robes, the Legalists or (insultingly) the Eunuchs.
The Shi-Ren originated from Chou nobility during China's Warring States period, not long after the end of the Himalayan Wars. While some nobles were drawn to the Dalou'laoshi or the Wu Lung, the Akashic Brotherhood challenged their lords to look beyond the letter of their laws to understand its higher purpose. As their status as nobility waned, some of the Shi-Ren migrated to Japan to integrate themselves into the native nobility there, eventually transforming into strong feudal warlords and then to incipient nationalists.
The Mongolian invasion of China struck a hard blow against the Shi-Ren, and some of them aligned with the Dalou'laoshi and became absorbed into the Technocracy. Others, however, worked underground to bring the Ming dynasty to power. The Ming period was a golden age for the Akashics, but it was doomed from the start; the Shi-Ren turned a blind eye to state corruption and the machinations of the Wu Lung for too long. The Qing dynasty brought them low again, and the Shi-Ren joined forces with some Vajrapani to form an underground movement against foreign influences in China.
In modern nights, the Shi-Ren have become overly dependent on their ties to organized crime, which other Akashics fear is a corrupting influence. As the Shi-Ren are the Brotherhood's primary financial support, however, this seems so far to be a necessary evil.
The Shi-Ren are strongly influenced by the doctrine of Legalism, which teaches that discipline, reward and punishment are necessary to tame one's inherently flawed inner nature. Their organizations are tightly hierarchical. At the head is the Han Fei Tzu Academy, a kind of think tank that influences the direction of the brotherhood as a whole. It recruits internationally through front companies that promise disciplined, ambitious people "personal power through the ancient Chinese principles of leadership."
The Shi-Ren also control the Gam Lung (Golden Dragons), a vast criminal conspiracy that engulfs much of Asia and North America. The Gam Lung prospered in the years after World War Two, but overreached itself in maneuvers against both Pentex and the Syndicate in the 1990s.