It's a Triad that is over 800 years old, which dates as far back as medieval China in the 13th century. It is an organization that has played an important role in China's history. The rivalry between the White Lotus and the Red Dragons has been going on for centuries. It is a conflict that dates back at least to the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901).
The White Lotus Society is currently the most powerful Triad in the Canton Confederation. The Triad is allied with the Phoenix Lodge and they are long time enemies of the Red Dragon Association. During the last decades of the People's Republic of China, it received a large influx of Falun Gong practitioners.
The White Lotus also have a presence in Hong Kong and Denver. Currently the White Lotus are led by a Hunan surgeon who is famous for the "miracle" treaments, Xong Guangiie. Leading the White Lotus branch in Denver during the 2050s was Hai Feng.
White Lotus has extensive ties with the corporation Tan Tien and have influence over the company. Having infiltrated the corporation, it means that they also have a presence in Manchuria, the Coastal Provinces, the Republic of China (the rump state that surrounds Beijing), and in Yunnan.
It dominates the prostitution and gambling rackets throughout the Canton Confederation. Since they have deep ties to the provincial governments, the White Lotus are able to operate in the open. Their allies, the Phoenix Lodge also have extensive prostitution operations in the northeast of the Confederacy but it poses no threat to the White Lotus. The Phoenix Lodge runs high-class call girls while the White Lotus run brothels and street walkers.
As the White Lotus Society actually dates back to the 13th century at the latest (see Trivia), it would make the White Lotus Society of the Shadowrun world approximately 800 years old. An organization which actually controlled a mighty empire. An achievement which none of the crime syndicates or megacorporations of the Sixth World have matched yet.
The "White Lotus Society" is a real secret society which existed in China by the late 13th century in opposition against the Mongol invaders. It was the White Lotus Society which orchestrated the "Red Turban Rebellion" which overthrew the Mongols and restored Han Chinese rule to China. The Ming Dynasty that ruled China for three centuries was established by a member of the White Lotus Society. Centuries later when the Manchu barbarians conquered China, they became part of the resistance against the Manchus along with the original Triads (Heaven & Earth Society).
- Shadows of Asia, 27, 32, 40-41, 157
- Spy Games, 80-81
- Shadowrun Missions: Take Out Service
- Shadowrun Missions: Chasing the Dragon
- Ancient Files Mirror: Canton Confederation Draft (PDF) for Sixth World Almanac by Robert Derie aka Ancient History.