During the Qing dynasty, brothers Zheng Zu and Zheng Yi founded the Five Weapons Society to protect China. Zheng Zu was inspired by Ta-Lo's legendary Five Sets of Heavenly Weapons: One Hammer (Hammer), Two Swords (Sabre), Nine Daggers (Dagger), Three Staffs (Staff) and Ten Rings (Hand).
Zheng Zu had five disciples, the Deadly Warriors, each representing a weapon in the Society.
Zheng Yi is mortally wounded in combat, Zu uses the Eyes of the Dragon to try and save his brother, but Yi reverses the spell to restore Zu's youth and power.
After Yi's death, Zu changed the organization to crime, using names like Celestial Order of the Si-Fan and Celestial Order of the Hai-Dai.
Zu planned to invade Ta-Lo and steal the Five Sets of Heavenly Weapons that were in the possession of the Jade Emperor, however, he met a human of Ta-Lo, Jiang Li, whom he married and had two children: Shang-Chi and Shi-Hua.
Zu achieved immortality using the Elixir Vitae, over the years, he became increasingly involved with the criminal underworld, with the collaboration of Triads, Ninjas, Dacoits, Phansigars, Thugees, Hashishin, Templars, Cult of Kali, among others.
He also had rivals in the underworld, such as Viper, HYDRA and the Kingpin.
Shang-Chi was raised in an old style castle in Hunan, China, not knowing that his father was a supervillain, he was trained in various forms of combat by Cho Li. Shang-Chi's mother ends up being banished to the Negative Zone and his sister Shi-Hua is sent to Russia.
After Zu sends Shang-Chi to kill a rival, he discovers the true face of the organization.
Shang-Chi allied with MI6 and made many friends and enemies.
Zu brings together various secret societies into a larger group called the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Zu died after failing to obtain Shang-Chi's blood to continue using Elixir Vitae.
After Zu's death, Shang-Chi moves to Yang-Tin, a small village in China, where he becomes a fisherman.
After a stint as a fisherman, Shang-Chi returns to fighting evil, collaborating with other heroes.
After Zu's death, his organization splintered, factions Sleeping Dragon Clan (led by Chiang Kai-Dong), Steel Lotus Group (led by Hsien Ming-Ho), Wild Tiger Mob (led by Deng Ling-Xiao) and Coiled Serpent Syndicate (led by Mao Liu-Cho).
One of his former employees, Li Chun, aka Shadow-Hand, obtained command of Si-Fan, he hired the second Zaran (Zhou Man She) to retrieve the Elixir Vitae.
The Kingpin gained control of the Si-Fan, creating the Si-Fan Cyber-Ninja, he managed to obtain the Elixir Vitae, Shang-Chi joins forces with the X-Men and the Elixir Vitae is destroyed.
Shang-Chi confronts the Wild Tiger Mob and dismantles the manufacture and cartel of a drug called Wild Tiger. Zu comes back to life and returns to confront his own son, on different occasions, Shang-Chi is helped by Marvel Knights, MI6 and the Black Panther.
Zu reclaims his organization, now called Celestial Order of the Hai-Dai.
In the Eyes of Dragon story arc, written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Mike Deodato, Jr., the Shadow Council attempts to resurrect Zheng Zu (who is in a zombified state), collaborating with Shang-Chi and the Secret Avengers, Prince of Orphans disrupts the ritual and Zheng Zu is turned to stone, which is broken by Prince of Orphans.
Trying again to live an ordinary life, Shag-Chi moves to Chinatown, San Francisco, however, once again his father's legacy changes his life, he met two half-siblings, Brother Saber and Sister Dagger, they say that the spirit his father chose Shang-Chi as the new supreme commander of the Five Weapons Society, at first, Shang-Chi is reluctant, but soon after accepts, promising that Five Weapons Society will return to its original purpose.
Marvel's version of Fu Manchu (creation of Sax Rohmer) was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin in Special Marvel Edition #15. In this version, Fu Manchu is the father of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Shang-Chi was raised in Hunan, China and trained in various forms of combat, Shang-Chi did not know that his father was a crime lord, being raised to believe he was a benefactor.
After Marvel did not renew Fu Manchu's license, the Shang-Chi's father did not have his name used or a pseudonym was introduced as Comte de Saint Germain, Ghost, Father and Han. In Secret Avengers #8, it was revealed that his real name is Zheng Zu.
Zheng Zu has fathered children in the Marvel Universe: Shang-Chi, Zheng Bao Yu, Moving-Shadow and Kwai Far. He also adopted a disfigured African child named M'Nai, who later became known as Midnight Sun. In the limited series Shang-Chi (2020) and Shang-Chi (2021), other children were revealed: Shi-Hua (like Shang-Chi, she is the daughter of Jiang Li), Takeshi, Esme, Brother Staff and Zhilan, Bao Yu is not is mentioned (perhaps by trying to get away from the Sax Rohmer stories), Shi-Hua seems to replace Bao Yu, she also dominated the organization created by her father, it is uncertain whether the other children introduced earlier are still part of the continuity.
In Secret Wars, Zheng Zu is a emperor of K'un-Lun and Master of the Ten Rings martial arts school.
In order to avoid associations with the Fu Manchu character, Shang-Chi's father is Wenwu, a character composed of Mandarin and Zheng Zu, like Mandarin, Wenwu possesses powerful rings, like Zheng Zu, runs a criminal organization called Ten Rings, and obtained immortality.