|"In silencing talk of conflict, Ba Sing Se remains a peaceful, orderly utopia – the last one on Earth."|
|— Long Feng to Team Avatar.|
Long Feng was the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se, the leader of the Dai Li, and a very charismatic, influential, and manipulative individual who lusted for power. As Earth King Kuei's closest personal adviser, Long Feng hid the Hundred Year War's existence outside the Earth Kingdom capital's walls while the Dai Li supplanted the king's power over his people.
For many years, Long Feng acted as de facto dictator of the entire Earth Kingdom, leading the country during the later stages of the Great War. He directed his country's war effort, supported Earth Kingdom armies, and funded rebels in their struggle against the Fire Nation. However, his obsession with keeping the conflict out of Ba Sing Se meant that he did not invest as much attention or aid to the rest of his country as he could have.
With the arrival of Avatar Aang and his team at the city, Long Feng captured their lost flying bison, Appa, as leverage should they disrupt the delicate balance the Dai Li had created. His ulterior motives were exposed by the Avatar when the Dai Li could not hide all evidence of the Fire Nation's invasion from the Earth King, so Long Feng was imprisoned for treason. However, the Dai Li were still loyal to their leader, and Long Feng struck a deal with Princess Azula to give her the Avatar in exchange for power over the city, though Azula double-crossed him and won the loyalty of the Dai Li, claiming Ba Sing Se in the name of the Fire Nation.
Seizure of power and rule as dictator
Long Feng was the son of a merchant in the Middle Ring of Ba Sing Se. His family was neither wealthy nor poor, and he had to rely on his intelligence and bending abilities to gain influence and power. After joining the Dai Li, he steadily climbed in the ranks, exploiting the fact that the secret police had long grown brutal and corrupt to his advantage. From his humble origins he rose to become the most feared man in the city as the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se and the Head of the Dai Li. He also served as the cultural minister. Eventually, the 51st Earth King died, leaving his four-year old son Kuei as the new ruler. Long Feng used his position to become the child king's regent, sequestering him and assuming total control of the government.
As Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se, Long Feng continued to pose as the Earth King's adviser, but in reality Kuei became little more than a figurehead of Ba Sing Se's government, and Long Feng truly held sway over its privatizing affairs. As the Hundred Year War with the Fire Nation spread and refugees began pouring into Ba Sing Se in greater and greater numbers, Long Feng decided to keep all information relating to the war away from Earth King Kuei, thereby appointing himself the sole dictator in matters relating to international affairs. Long Feng claimed that he hid information on the war so the Earth King would not be troubled, but in reality, he only did so to retain his power over him and the city.
As Head of the Dai Li, he utilized them as his own secret police to silence anyone who would disrupt the common peace or dare stand against him, secretly imprisoning them under Lake Laogai and using brainwashing techniques to subdue them. This effectively kept the citizens of Ba Sing Se in blissful ignorance and maintained the illusion that there was no war. He claimed to had preserved the last utopian society left on the planet by covering up all knowledge of the war, when in fact, the totalitarian traits of Ba Sing Se's government are marks of dystopia. His power was so absolute that even the Council of Five could not break through his stranglehold on the Royal Palace.
Despite mainly focusing on controlling Ba Sing Se and maintaining his police state, Long Feng did not ignore the Hundred Year War. As de facto dictator, he felt responsible for the entire country, and acted as the Earth Kingdom's supreme commander. He directed and organized the war effort, funding rebellions in Fire Nation-occupied territories and using his far-reaching spy network to gather intelligence on the Fire Nation military. In the end, however, Long Feng firmly believed that the Fire Nation would never be able to conquer Ba Sing Se, and rather devoted his attention to the capital than the outlying regions. By the 90s AG, however, Long Feng began to devote more energy on securing the lands which directly surrounded Ba Sing Se.
At one point in the Great War's last years, Long Feng was contacted by a Fire Army general named Onomu through his spy network. The officer had defected and offered secret military plans in exchange for asylum in Ba Sing Se. The Grand Secretariat was very interested in the documents, knowing that they could be crucial in stopping the Fire Nation from conquering the territories around the Earth Kingdom capital. He consequently agreed to the deal with the Fire Nation general. He hired a group of adventurers to escort Onomu through the Earth Kingdom to an outpost near Ba Sing Se where the exchange was supposed to take place. However, Long Feng was acting in bad faith, as he had no intention to allow a prominent Fire Nation defector into the capital where she could disrupt his illusion of peace. Instead, he intended to use either the adventurers or the Dai Li to take the plans, while preventing Onomu from ever getting into his city. He tasked one of his agents, Yanran, with making sure that this operation would proceed as he planned.
Encountering the Avatar
In spring 100 AG, Long Feng attended a party being held for the Earth King's pet bear, Bosco. As he was entering, he encountered Katara and Toph, who, after being initially refused entry by a palace guard, asked him to escort them inside and he accepted. After he used his influence to get them through the gates, he introduced himself as a cultural minister to the king, and insisted on escorting them, not letting them out of his sight.
As the Earth King's palanquin was brought inside the room, Dai Li agents started to pick out each of the four friends one by one and discreetly brought them to the palace's library. Long Feng confronted Aang, just when the Avatar was about to speak to the King, and revealed himself to be the Grand Secretariat of the Earth King and head of the Dai Li. He requested an audience with the young airbender, stating that his friends would already be waiting for them.
Taking them to a small, private chamber, Long Feng explained the true state of affairs in Ba Sing Se: that he is in charge of handling day-to-day affairs in the city, including all military matters. The King himself was no more than a figurehead, a beloved icon. Sokka tried to talk about the coming solar eclipse, but was abruptly cut off by Long Feng. To preserve the culture and utopian life within the walls of Ba Sing Se, Long Feng explained, no mention of the war was permitted. When Aang threatened to talk and tell everyone about the war, Long Feng retaliated by threatening them with expulsion from the city and told them that the Dai Li would be watching them.
Any attempts to speak to locals about the war would result in their expulsion from the city. He also cryptically remarked that such an expulsion would make their search for Appa difficult.
Lake Laogai exposed
Long Feng chastised Joo Dee for failing to control the situation the Avatar's presence had created. When Joo Dee confessed her doubt in her ability to complete her assignment, he said the words "The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai", which placed her in a deep hypnotic trance. He told her to await further orders, and ordered his right-hand man to "quietly" deal with the Avatar, so as to prevent Aang from threatening the Dai Li's control over the Earth King.
This plan unfolded as a brainwashed Jet and a janitor worked to lead the Avatar and his group out of Ba Sing Se under the illusion that Appa had been shipped to Whaletail Island. However, the group ran into Smellerbee and Longshot by chance, who revealed to the group that Jet had been captured by the Dai Li, prompting them all to conclude he had been brainwashed. After several attempts, they seemed to break the Dai Li's hold on Jet. He revealed to them that he was taken to the secret headquarters of the Dai Li, located beneath Lake Laogai.
Battle at Lake Laogai
When the group utilized this information, Long Feng and a group of Dai Li agents confronted them, dropping from the ceiling. He watched as the guards engaged in a heated battle with the intruders, before fleeing the chamber as it became apparent that the Dai Li were losing. He led Aang and Jet into another large chamber and closed the exit with earthbending. He offered to drop all charges against Aang and his group and reunite them with Appa if they would immediately leave the city. When his offer was refused, he activated the hypnosis command, forcing Jet to attack Aang. However, the Avatar managed to break Jet out of his trance by reminding him that he was with the Freedom Fighters. In a fit of rage, Jet flung one of his swords at Long Feng, who dodged and retaliated with a powerful earthbending move that mortally wounded him. Angrily telling Jet he had chosen his own demise, he departed the scene.
He later appeared with a large group of Dai Li agents on the lake's shore, where they used earthbending to trap Aang and company. Before they could do some serious damage, Appa appeared, having been freed earlier by Zuko, and barreled through the stone walls, causing the Dai Li to flee. Long Feng attacked the bison, claiming that he would "handle [him] by [himself]", but his earthbending attempt was easily thwarted by Appa, who bit his leg and flung him into the lake.
Fall from power
Back at the palace, Long Feng was once again confronted by Team Avatar, who had broken into the palace in an attempt to expose the Grand Secretariat's conspiracy to Earth King Kuei. Long Feng managed to have the King dismiss the team's claims and attempted to arrest them, but he was stopped after the King learned Aang's identity as the Avatar and decided to at least hear them out. Long Feng denied all the charges brought against him, claiming that he had never encountered a flying bison upon being blamed for Appa's kidnapping. As the Earth King pondered over the apparently unlikely allegations, Long Feng whispered in his ear that Aang and his friends were part of an "anarchist cell" attempting to overthrow him, convincing the Earth King to arrest the team. When Aang, in a last ditch effort, exposed Appa's bite mark on Long Feng's leg with his airbending, the Grand Secretariat claimed it to be a birth mark but was quickly proven to be lying when Aang compared the mark with Appa's teeth. As the Earth King subsequently agreed to investigate all Team Avatar's claims more closely, Long Feng quietly retreated with his Dai Li agents.
Despite Long Feng's efforts to hide as much evidence as possible by destroying his base underneath Lake Laogai, his attempt to write off the remains of the Fire Nation's drill as part of a construction project was unconvincing, and the King immediately ordered the Dai Li to arrest Long Feng. Despite his imprisonment, Long Feng was reassured by his second-in-command that the Dai Li still remained loyal to him.
Shortly after his imprisonment, Long Feng made a deal with Azula, who, together with her allies, had infiltrated the city disguised as the Kyoshi Warriors; he gave her control of the Dai Li so as to lead them while he was in jail, and they managed a coup of the city. However, Azula's ruthless efficiency had such a profound effect on the Dai Li that they shifted loyalty to her.
When Long Feng was eventually released, he ordered them to arrest the Fire Nation Princess, but they hesitated when he did. Azula, having planned this all along, mockingly told him that though he worked hard for his position, he lacked "the divine right to rule" that she had from birth. Without the power of the Dai Li to back him up, he was forced to bow before her as she took control of both the Dai Li and Ba Sing Se. When Long Feng complimented that Azula had beaten him at his own game, she added insult to injury by stating that he was never even a player.
Long Feng's manipulation of Kuei ultimately contributed to the king becoming determined to never again be weak. As a result, Kuei became a much more active monarch following his restoration to power. Long Feng's control over Ba Sing Se and the Earth Kingdom government remained relatively well known in the decades after his downfall.
Long Feng's desire for power stemmed from his upbringing among the dredges of society. He had to struggle up the societal ladder from the Lower Ring straight to the Imperial Palace, developing his skills of manipulation and influence. Intelligent, ruthless and patient, he was able to achieve his goals by occupying important offices. Long Feng was also capable of corrupting the Dai Li, an organization loyal to the Earth Kingdom and the Earth King for generations.
However, as Azula pointed out to him later, he was foolish in believing that he could accomplish total control on his own. Even though Azula stated that it was his refusal to acknowledge power as a divine gift that caused his downfall, it was his overconfidence that ultimately led to his fall from power. Controlling Ba Sing Se without any competitors and challenges for years, the Grand Secretariat became careless and very self-confident. During the Coup of Ba Sing Se, Long Feng did not realize that he himself was the victim of manipulation. However, when he recognized the truth, he bowed before Azula and uncomplainingly accepted his defeat, as he realized that any challenge would have been futile, demonstrating his self-discipline and intelligence.
As an agent of the Dai Li himself, Long Feng was one of the most powerful earthbenders in Ba Sing Se. Though he preferred to use other people as pawns instead of facing his enemies directly, he displayed considerable earthbending skills on numerous occasions. The first was a situation in which he overturned a huge slab of ground on Appa in order to capture the Avatar's steed. Long Feng also dodged Jet's sword and mortally wounded him with a single, well-aimed rock.
Long Feng was also knowledgeable in hypnotism, which was commonly used by the Dai Li. By saying the trigger words "The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai", he could cause people who had been subjected to the Dai Li's hypnosis, such as Jet and Joo Dee, to obey his every word, essentially creating sleeper agents within the city.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Two: Earth (土)
- 214. "City of Walls and Secrets"
- 216. "Appa's Lost Days" (no lines)
- 217. "Lake Laogai"
- 218. "The Earth King"
- 219. "The Guru"
- 220. "The Crossroads of Destiny"
- Ruins of the Empire Part Two (flashback, no lines)
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
- During the second arrival of Sozin's Comet, a mentally unstable Azula criticized and banished her Dai Li agents for being late to a meeting, believing they would eventually betray her just as they had betrayed Long Feng.
- The name Long Feng (
) translates to "Dragon Phoenix", which stands for the royal throne in Chinese tradition.
- The translation is also similar to the Cantonese colloquialism describing a person or group as "putting on a show of dragons and phoenixes", which means to put on an elaborate show with the intention to confuse, deceive, distract or misdirect.
- The position Long Feng held is similar to a royal regent or to a queen in chess, in which he is really in control and victory is left to a king that wields no power.
- The relationship between Earth King Kuei and Long Feng resembled the relationship between King Emmanuel III of Italy and Benito Mussolini. Mussolini was the prime minister of Italy from 1922 to 1943 who proceeded to install a Fascist government after forming an alliance with German dictator, Adolf Hitler. He was finally dismissed by Emmanuel after the Allies' successful invasion of Sicily, and arrested shortly afterward.
- Long Feng served as the secondary villain in Book Two, a role similar to that of Zhao and Combustion Man in Book One and Book Three, respectively. These three antagonists were all introduced and defeated in their respective books, though Long Feng was the only one who was not killed, as well as the only one who was not from the Fire Nation.
- Long Feng and Yakone shared many similarities, in the sense that both tried to assert control over a city: Long Feng tried to control Ba Sing Se by using the Dai Li, while Yakone tried to rule Republic City from its "rotten underbelly". Furthermore, both antagonists were defeated by Avatar Aang and subsequently attempted to enact revenge, but failed to accomplish their goals.
- They were also voiced by the same voice actor, Clancy Brown.
- He wore a queue, a traditional Manchu hairstyle. Han Chinese were forced to wear queues under Qing Dynasty rule.
|Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se
Unknown - June, 100 AG
Unknown, eventually Gun
Unknown, originally Avatar Kyoshi
|Head of the Dai Li
Unknown - June, 100 AG