A HISTORY OF THE LUNG KONG TIEN YEE ASSOCIATION
(see below for Chinese text and pictures of Association main hall )
The Four Families in China --
The Four Families came together during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 A.D.) when the management of the land
under Emperor Sien of the eastern Han Dynasty was in chaos and near anarchy. Lew Pei, an uncle of the emperor,
Quan Yu, and Chang Fei met in the peach garden of the latter's estate. There they vowed to join their families as brothers,
not on the basis of blood relationship, but for the common good of their people.
Their choice of location was appropriate, for the peach blossom symbolizes longevity, and the vows taken in Chang's peach
garden have remained unbroken for over 1,700 years.
Chew Yuen joined the "confraternity" later at Kucheng, the Old City, completing the four-cornered association which
has become legendary in Chinese history.
The Four Families acquired the association's well known name 20 years after the beginning of the Ching Dynasty (1641-1911).
The Lew Family owned a hill shaped like the head of a dragon facing toward heaven, which was called Lung Kong, or Dragon
The land was coveted by powerful neighbors of the Lews, so to avoid the possibility of a dispute, the Lews built a temple
atop the hill with the help of the members of the Four Families. The temple held statues of the four patriarchs and
of Kung Ming, and it became a place of worship.
The move to America --
Chinese began to come to America in 1848, arriving first in San Francisco. The Gold Rush and other signs of prosperity
swelled the Chinese population in San Francisco to 12,000 by 1851, and the need for an association here began to make itself
In 1876, during the reign of Emperor Kwong Shui, the elders of the Four Families erected a Lung Kong Temple on Brooklyn
Alley off Sacramento Street in San Francisco, and there too statues of the four ancestors were erected.
With the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and discrimination against Chinese running rampant throughout
the United States, the Lung Kong Association took responsibility for the social welfare of its members, and also served as
a fraternal organization. Like the other family and district associations that came into being here during that period,
Lung Kong cared for its sick, gave food and housing for the less fortunate, and provided burial rites for its members.
The 1906 earthquake and resulting fire in San Francisco destroyed the temple on Brooklyn Alley, and new zoning laws prevented
erection of a new one at that location. The new Lung Kong Kung Shaw was dedicated at 1034 Stockton St. four years later
in 1910. As the size and scope of the association expanded, the need for a larger facility became apparent. The
Ming Yee Low building was completed at 924 Grant Avenue in 1925.
The first Lung Kong conference in America was held in Los Angeles in 1928. It was there that the Lung Kong Kung
Shaw and the Tien Yee Kung Shaw were merged into the Lung Kong Tien Yee Association.
Spreading throughout North America to the Western Hemisphere and Overseas - -
The Chinese in North America had spread out to all parts of the continent from San Francisco after the peak periods of
immigration from 1880 to 1900. They concentrated for the most part in urban centers.
An association headquarters was established for New York in 1888, followed by Portland and Seattle in 1890.
The Mok Tien Kung Shaw settled in Victoria, Canada in 1900 and reorganized under the name Lung Kong Tien Yee Kung Shaw in
1902. Toronto founded its chapter in 1912, Honolulu in 1919, Oakland in 1920, Vancouver and memphis in 1923.
Mexico got its first chapter in 1924. Cuba and Peru had already become homes for association chapters in 1900.
A chapter opened in Montreal in 1927. By 1948 the association had spread far and wide throughout the Western Hemisphere,
so that delegates met in New York that year to form the North and South America Continental Lung Kong Tien Yee Kung Shaw.
The World Lung Kong Tien Yee Association was established in 1960, and eight years later its headquarters were moved to
In 1978, the Lung Kong Tien Yee Association of Europe was established.
By 1981, the association had 146 chapters on five continents, representing an active membership of more than 3 million.
(Today, it has grown even more.)
The rule of conduct --
Worldwide, the association's members adhere to the rule of conduct established by emperor Lew Pei over 1,700 years ago:
Be endeavoring, be endeavoring
Do not consider the evil so small
and thus to commit it.
Do not consider the goodness
so small and thus to disdain it.
Only virtue, only high conduct
can win the people.
Stressing loyalty, rightousness, benevolence and bravery, Lung Kong adheres to tradition and resists rebellion.
Members consider the Four Families as one, with the inter-family love between them as the most important foundation for the
association. They consider the bonds which hold them together stronger than those to their own blood relatives.
Four Families individual backgrounds --
Although the Four Families have strong bonds among them, each family is separate and has its own rich history.
The Lew family established the Han Dynasty, beginning with Lew Pon as its first emperor. Twenty-five emperors in
all from the Lew family ruled for 422 years, winning respect throughout the Eastern world. It adopted the name Peng
Cheng Tong after the name of a county where the family lived during the Han Dynasty.
The Quan family descended from Lung Fung, a courtier of the Shah Dynasty. Quan Yu is respectfully honored as the
Holy King in Chinese history. The Quan family adopted the name Lungsi Tong.
The Chang family, one of the great families of China, can trace its lineage back to King Huang. It has adopted
the name Ching Ho Tong after the name of a county in Hopeh Province.
The Chew family produced Chew Kang Yun, the first emperor of the Sung Dynasty. A total of 19 emperors ruled the
land during the Sung Dynasty's 319 years. The Chew family is also known as the Tien Shui Tong, so named for a county
in what is now the Kansu Province.
Pride and Respect --
The Lung Kong Tien Yee Association looks back on the 5,000 year history of the Chinese civilization with pride and great
respect. It considers its own primary reason for existence to be the preservation and continued advancement of that
civilization, and stresses loyalty and love for the living and filial piety toward one's ancestors.
(Above text adapted from Asian Week newspaper article, 8/26/82)
Scanned Chinese text from Lung Kong Tien Yee Association historical booklet follows below.