- "'Shēngcún' is more than body. It is spirit, what lives on. Like I did in Shado, and she did in you."
- —Yao Fei to Oliver Queen[src]
Yao Fei Gulong (姚飞古龙 Yáo Fēi Gǔlóng) (died May 2008; briefly resurrected December 2019) was a master archer and former student of Talia al Ghul, as well as a Chinese army general. He was also the father of Mei and the late Shado, the first mentor/good friend of Oliver Queen, and a good friend of Slade Wilson.
After being framed for a civilian massacre, Yao Fei was deemed too dangerous for society by the Chinese government and became a prisoner of Lian Yu. There, he eventually encountered mercenary Edward Fyers, who aimed to make Yao Fei his scapegoat in shooting down Ferris Air Flight 637. However, Yao Fei escaped with the help of Slade and eventually found Oliver washed up on Lian Yu. He took in and trained Oliver for a brief time.
When Fyers kidnapped Shado, Yao Fei agreed to participate in the former's plans in order to protect his daughter. Fyers later murdered Yao Fei as his agenda was coming into fruition. However, Oliver, Slade, and Shado managed to save Flight 637 and foil Fyers' mission, ensuring that Yao Fei's death was not in vain.
Several years prior to 2007, the Chinese military massacred a large number of people, and Yao Fei was forcibly chosen as a scapegoat to take the blame. As a result, he was sentenced to exile on Lian Yu for the rest of his life.
Time on Lian Yu
Yao Fei soon became a prisoner of Edward Fyers, who wanted him to be the face of a war-related plan. About a year after being captured by Edward, Slade was put in a cell with him. Slade helped Yao Fei to escape from their cell. The two went to go find Slade's partner, Bill, only to find out that he had joined with Edward. The two men then escaped Edward's camp together. While it isn't known what exactly happened after that, Yao Fei and Slade made plans to escape the island together on a supply plane.
One day in late 2007, Yao Fei came across Oliver Queen on Lian Yu and shot him with an arrow through the chest. Afterwards, Yao Fei brought the unconscious Oliver to his hideout in a cave, where he tended to the wound. Oliver questioned why he had been shot, to which Yao Fei responded in Mandarin, "To protect you". After giving Oliver some island herbs, Yao Fei proceeded to remove the arrow from his chest. Later while Yao Fei slept, Oliver tried to run off but was caught in a snare. Yao Fei eventually found and scolded him before cutting down the net. Yao Fei warned Oliver that "they" would kill him and left, prompting Oliver to follow.
A few days later, Yao Fei arrived at the cave to find Oliver staring at a photo of a woman. Deciding to begin teaching him, Yao Fei set down a cage with a bird besides Oliver, proclaiming "Shengcún" repeatedly as an explanation. Later as Yao Fei was roasting a bird's leg on a stick, Oliver awoke and attempted to grab at the stick, but Yao Fei single-handedly threw him aside and hinted at Oliver to get his own food by killing the bird. Oliver refused, citing he had never killed anything before, to which Yao Fei again replied, "Shengcún". He then watched as Oliver proceeded to kill and cook the bird. Speaking English to Oliver for the first time, Yao Fei revealed that "Shengcún" means "survive." Yao Fei went on to say that the bird would not be Oliver's last kill on Lian Yu and urged the latter to forget about the woman in his photo, pointing out he would not survive if he only thought about her all the time.
One morning, Yao Fei went hunting and killed a rabbit. He gestured for Oliver to pick up the rabbit, calling it "dinner". Oliver asked if he could use the bow instead. Bemused, Yao Fei agreed, instructing him to breathe and shoot an arrow at a tree. Oliver missed, prompting Yao Fei to announce he would die badly. Oliver went to pick up the rabbit, but was captured by Edward Fyers' men. Not wanting Oliver to reveal his whereabouts, Yao Fei went to the mercenaries' camp and arrived at the tent just in time to stop Billy Wintergreen from killing Oliver. Immediately upon entering, Yao Fei threw down Edward and another soldier and then quickly shot an arrow at Oliver's tied hands to free him. Yao Fei then shot another arrow at Billy, which he easily caught. Yao Fei and Billy immediately engaged in combat with Yao Fei using his bow as a melee weapon against Bill's sword. Yao was able to get Billy on the ground with a punch, giving him time to escape with Oliver. Yao Fei took Oliver back to the cave, revealing that he was surprised that Oliver did not break under torture. He handed Oliver a pack of herbs and left. Before Oliver could follow him, Yao Fei caused an avalanche at the mouth of the cave to prevent him from leaving in order to keep him safe.
Yao Fei later returned and unsealed the cave, surprised Oliver had survived. He put down some provisions for Oliver, later bringing in a prisoner - Fyers. To meet up with Fyers' men, the three of them trekked through the forest. During this time, Edward explained to Oliver what Lian Yu actually was and what it had been used for. As Yao Fei asked Edward to radio his troops to bring a plane, he mocked that Yao Fei was unable to see how incredibly easy it was to capture him. Edward Fyers' men, including Billy Wintergreen, emerged from the woods. Yao Fei promptly engaged in combat with him and was soon overwhelmed, being forced to surrender.
Soon after, Oliver was able to steal the suit of one of Edward's men in order to attempt to rescue Yao Fei. As he entered the camp, he met with Yao Fei who was masked and unknown to Oliver. He was soon knocked out by Edward's men and woke up in a cage. Outside the cage was Edward, who revealed the identity of the mystery soldier: none other than Yao Fei himself, who had allegedly been working for Edward the entire time.
After this, Yao Fei brought Oliver to a fighting ring. Under Edward Fyers' orders, Yao Fei beat Oliver and used a moved that would make it appear as if he had killed Oliver. They took Oliver's body to a river where Yao Fei stepped up to the ledge, slipped a map in to Oliver's jacket, and pushed him in to the water.
Sometime later, Edward requested Yao Fei's help to train new recruits in archery. He later met Oliver in a tent. Oliver tried to reason with Yao Fei, but Yao Fei knocked him out before Edward could see them conversing. For handing Oliver to Edward, Yao Fei was later given five minutes with his imprisoned daughter, Shado.
Yao Fei, still with Edward, met up with Oliver and Slade Wilson. Edward threatened to kill Yao Fei's daughter if they did not comply with his wishes. He promptly requested she be killed, leading to a major fight. In the crossfire, Yao Fei was shot and they were forced to leave him behind by his request.
As Oliver, Shado, and Slade, began to talk in the crashed plane, Yao Fei arrived. His daughter hugged him, and he was questioned as to how he escaped. He blankly replied that he didn't, and the plane was quickly surrounded by Edward Fyers' men.
After the three were captured, they were taken back to Edward's camp. As a means for bargaining, Edward would kill them if Yao Fei did not record the footage for him to send to the Chinese government that would make it seem as if Yao Fei was to blame for the Ferris Air bombings. No longer having a use for Yao Fei after the recording was completed, Edward promptly shot him in the head and killed him.
In 2019, after an energy spike across the island, the spirits of those that perished there early on came back. When Oliver Queen returned to the island seeking to harness the energy for a weapon, a newly resurrected Yao Fei joined forces with Team Arrow in fighting the likewise resurrected forces of Edward Fyers. After catching up with Oliver he gave him advice on how to handle his newly discovered fatherhood and his impending death. In the final battle, Yao Fei tangled with Wintergreen one last time before the weapon was activated and all the resurrected were returned to their graves.
Yao Fei was a man of honor and good morals, he was kind, caring, and a loving father. The only reason he was helping Edward Fyers was because he threatened to kill his daughter, Shado if he did not cooperate. Yao Fei was also intelligent and calculating; he knew the moment Fyers no longer had any further use for him, Fyers would not only kill him but Shado, Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson as well.
When it appeared he was checking to see if his daughter was fine after Fyers shot her in the shoulder, he was actually secretly giving both her and Oliver knives. He did this to enable them not only to free themselves and prevent Fyers from killing them, but also stop Fyers from shooting down a Ferris Air jet, so that his death would not be in vain.
- Peak of human physical condition: Yao Fei was in top physical form for a man of his age. He was able to toss Oliver Queen aside with one hand and go up against Billy Wintergreen, a physically imposing fighter.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Yao Fei displayed high levels of proficiency in unarmed combat and martial arts. He was skilled enough to defeat Billy in their first confrontation, and only being overpowered in their second and final confrontation due to Billy having aid from Edward Fyers's mercenaries. Yao Fei's combat skills surpassed that of his daughter, Shado. His style mainly incorporated wing chun, eskrima, and jiujitsu.
- Master archer: Having been personally trained by Talia al Ghul, Yao Fei was an exceptional archer. He used his superb archery skills to survive Lian Yu for a few years. Yao Fei was able to precisely shoot Oliver non-lethally in the chest from a far distance. He killed several of Edward Fyers' mercenaries and even his best ones with archery.
- Bilingual: As a native Chinese, Yao Fei spoke Mandarin fluently, in addition to English.
- Master survivor: Yao Fei had the skills of a great survivor, having lived on Lian Yu for years, and even taught Oliver how to survive.
- Carbon Fiber Longbow: Yao Fei's signature weapon of choice; a carbon fiber longbow. He has frequently demonstrated his mastery of this weapon. He also used it as an improvised quarterstaff. It was unknown if this bow was in his possession during his time in the Chinese military, or if it came into his possession after he was sent to Lian Yu. The bow is made from carbon fiber and was most likely designed by Yao Fei himself.
- Hunting arrows: Yao Fei was very proficient in using arrows, combined with his Carbon Fiber Long Bow. When Edward Fyers first saw him with it, he thought he looked ridiculous. This was until Yao Fei took out three of his best men with it.
- Quiver: Yao Fei used his quiver to carry his arrows, similar to Oliver's quiver.
- Knife: Yao Fei possesses a knife, which he used to cut the ropes that were trapping Oliver.
- Green hood: Usually worn down, it is unknown how Yao Fei got it. Yao Fei's green hood came into his daughter Shado's possession after his death. After her death Oliver wore it to honor their memory. Oliver later received a green suit with the hood Yao Fei wore from Talia al Ghul, who trained Yao Fei and later finished training Oliver in combat to become the Starling City vigilante.
- Lian Yu herbs: Yao Fei collected medicinal herbs from the island to heal serious wounds and/or infections.
- Yao Fei was Oliver Queen's first mentor and gave the latter the first of his many scars.
- Yao Fei introduced Oliver to archery, which would become his signature skill.
- Oliver confirmed to John Diggle that Yao Fei trained him on Lian Yu. Since most of Oliver's training with Yao Fei was minimal on-screen, it's possible it was done off-screen.
- Yao Fei was also Oliver's last mentor he met before his death.
- Both Yao Fei and his daughter, Shado, were killed with a gunshot to the head and buried next to each other at Robert Queen's gravesite.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics universe, Yao Fei is a superhero known as Accomplished Perfect Physician and a member of the Great Ten, a team of Chinese superheroes. There is also another member of that team who is known as the Celestial Archer, and is a master archer like Yao Fei in .
- The Arrowverse version of Yao Fei seems to combine the abilities of both Great Ten members.