|Affiliation:||Government of China (formerly)|
|Profession:||Head of Security,|
Chinese consulate, LA (formerly)
|Died:||Day 9: 10:42pm|
Beheaded by Jack Bauer
|Played by:||Tzi Ma|
|Stunt double:||Vincent Wang|
|Season(s):||4, 5, 6, 9|
|First episode:||"Day 4: 3:00am-4:00am"|
|Last episode:||"Day 9: 10:00pm-11:00am"|
- "You should've stayed hidden like a rat. You could've died an old man."
Cheng Zhi was a Chinese national and former government official who turned to terrorist activities after feeling betrayed by his country.
During Day 4, Cheng served as Head of Security at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles. When Consul Koo Yin was killed during a raid on the consulate, Cheng was appointed by Deputy Consul Su Ming to lead the investigation. Cheng eventually learned from one of the agents involved that Jack Bauer was behind the attack on the consulate and captured him at the end of Day 5.
Cheng was responsible for the torture of Bauer for almost 2 years, after which he agreed to surrender him to the United States. However, unknown to everyone, he also held Audrey Raines captive to use as leverage later. Cheng's acquisition of the Russian FB subcircuit board at the end of Day 6 sparked an international incident between the United States and Russia. He was incarcerated by the United States government and was sent to China for imprisonment, but he managed to fake his own death and escape.
Feeling betrayed by his country, he attempted to cause a war between his home country and the United States through the use of a defense override module during Day 9. However Cheng's plot was thwarted by Jack Bauer who proved him to be responsible for the rising conflict, but not before he ordered the murder of Audrey. In retaliation for it, Jack beheaded Cheng with a katana.
During the events of Day 4, Habib Marwan planned on using a nuclear warhead against the American people. When CTU learned that Lee Jong could help capture Marwan, he hid at the Chinese consulate. The Chinese government agreed to cooperate, but not in the appropriate time frame. President David Palmer authorized for Jack Bauer to run a covert operation in order to get Jong into custody. During the operation, Chinese guards fired and accidentally shot and killed Consul Koo Yin. Yin's successor, Su Ming, was convinced the US government was behind it.
As head of security at the consulate, Cheng Zhi investigated the death of the consul and he wanted someone to be brought to justice for Yin's death. When Cheng looked through security cameras, he noticed one of the Chinese guards managed to pull the mask off one of the agents. Cheng was able to run the face of the agent and he discovered that it was the face of Howard Bern, a field agent with CTU Los Angeles. Cheng headed over to the Los Angeles office, in order to question them about the raiding of the consulate.
Cheng arrived at CTU and spoke with Bill Buchanan, the Regional Director of CTU. Buchanan was able to fake hourly reports, that proved that Jack Bauer and his team were at CTU during the raid. When Cheng confronted Audrey Raines, the Senior Policy Analyst of Secretary of Defense James Heller, she confirmed that she was with Jack Bauer during the midst of the operation. When Cheng asked about Howard Bern, CTU was able to prove he was at a different domestic office and Jack helped Bern escape from the building. After speaking with Edgar Stiles, Cheng realized he wouldn't be able to implicate the government and that Bauer was behind the attack.
While Bern tried to get out of the city, Cheng and his men were able to find his location. They illegally abducted him and pulled him in a van. Cheng interrogated Bern and told him he would let him go if he told him who ran the operation. Bern eventually confessed that Jack Bauer was the one who ran the operation. Cheng contacted the US government and told President Charles Logan that the Chinese government would put aside the involvement of the US government if Bauer was given to them and prosecuted under Chinese laws.
With no other choice, Logan agreed to Cheng's terms and told him a Secret Service agent would deliver Bauer to the Chinese. Logan's Chief of Staff, Walt Cummings, was convinced Bauer would give up National Security information. He sent Dale Spalding to apprehend Bauer and kill him. When Bauer attempted to escape from CTU, he faked his own death to make it look as though he was shot and killed by Spalding. Cheng and the Chinese government did not go forward with accusing Logan's administration of being involved in the covert operation.
During the events of Day 5, Jack Bauer was forced to come out of hiding when a terrorist threat struck the US nation. Some time during the course of the day, Graem Bauer contacted the Chinese and informed them that Jack was still alive. After Bauer was released from custody for kidnapping President Charles Logan, Cheng's men apprehended him. Bauer was brought aboard the freighter Splendor, where Cheng reminded him of the events that happened 18 months earlier. Bauer asked for Cheng to kill him, but Cheng told him he was too valuable to kill.
After Day 5
After Cheng arrived in China with Jack Bauer, he was ordered by his government to oversee the interrogation and torture of Jack. Cheng had his men engage in several torture tactics during seven months, but torture did not work, and Cheng would later admit that Jack never spoke a word. At one point while he was alone, Jack was approached by two white men who claimed to be an American special operations rescue team. However, they were mercenaries hired by Cheng as part of an elaborate ruse. Their deception worked, and Jack was tricked into giving up information with a nod of his head. Cheng learned that Hong Wai (and not the other suspect, Li) was the American mole within the Chinese government. Cheng had Hong brought out and murdered him in front of Jack, then had his men dismiss Jack back to his cell. Despite Jack being interrogated for 13 more months, Cheng wasn't able to gain any further intelligence from Jack. ("Season 6 Prequel")
Prior to the start of Day 6, the US suffered from a series of bombings and terrorist attacks. Abu Fayed, who played a pivotal role in the attack, willingly negotiated with the US government. He would hand over the location of leader Hamri Al-Assad in exchange for $25 million and Jack Bauer. President Wayne Palmer was forced to agree to Fayed's terms and he exchanged for the release of Bauer from the Chinese.
Cheng Zhi and his men brought Jack to Los Angeles shortly after 6am on Day 6. After they loaded Jack off the plane, Cheng revealed that Jack hadn't spoken a word in nearly two years. Bill Buchanan asked for Jack to be uncuffed and Cheng instructed one of the guards to release him. Curtis Manning escorted Jack away, while Bill Buchanan signed for the release. Before Cheng left, he revealed that America paid a steep price for the release of Bauer.
Over the course of the day, Cheng learned that Jack Bauer was leading an investigation to recover five nuclear bombs from terrorist Abu Fayed. Cheng saw this as an opportunity, not only to get revenge on Bauer, but also to increase China's military power and start a war between Russia and the United States.
Seconds after Jack killed Fayed and secured nuclear bombs, Cheng placed a call to the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit. The call was patched over to the cellular phone of Mike Doyle, who was appointed to Director of Field Operations after Jack was forced to kill Curtis in the line of duty. Doyle handed the phone over to Jack, who was shocked to hear Audrey's voice. Cheng grabbed the phone from her and told Jack that he would call back in ten minutes maximum on a secure line, or Ms. Raines would be killed.
When Jack called back, Cheng made a proclamation of his plans. Cheng explained that Audrey's death was staged, as Jack was an uncooperative prisoner and the Chinese saw her as a future asset. Jack offered to capitulate in exchange for Audrey's freedom, but Cheng insisted that there wasn't a point to hold an uncooperative prisoner. Cheng wanted an FB subcircuit board from one of the Russian suitcase nukes, which were handed over to the military after CTU secured them. The component would break defense codes found in most Russian military technology. Russia had successfully concealed the codes from China for a number of years. Jack claimed that this would create an international crisis, possibly the third World War. Cheng insisted that was for the diplomatic parties to decide and the only way to secure Audrey's survival, was for Jack to acquire the component.
Cheng gave Jack an hour to get the component and he received a call from Jack approximately at 11:30pm. Jack confirmed that he had the circuit board in his possession. Cheng instructed Jack to take the first exit past mile marker 49 on the 118 freeway. Jack would receive further instructions once he reached the destination. Cheng warned Jack if he involved CTU in anyway, Audrey would be killed. Jack called Cheng back at around 12:10am and told him he would pick the meeting place. Cheng insisted that they could both get what they want, but Jack revealed that he was a fugitive from CTU. Jack knew the satellite area CTU covered, so Cheng allowed him to pick the meeting spot.
Cheng had his men load Audrey into his limousine and they left the parking garage. When they arrived at the location, Cheng got out of the automobile alone and approached Jack in the small building. Jack told him he wouldn't hand over the circuit board until he was sure that Audrey was safe. Cheng had Audrey brought into the room and she had an emotional reunion with Jack, though she didn't speak a word. Jack told Audrey to passover a bridge and he said a cab driver had instructions to bring her back to CTU. Once Audrey was out of the reach of Cheng's sniper, Jack would hand over the component.
Mike Doyle had infiltrated the location and he realized that Jack would hand over the component. Doyle wasn't aware that the building was wired with a charge of C4, and he made a move on one of Cheng's men. After Doyle initiated his attack, air support and TAC units arrived on the scene. Jack threw the component to Cheng and one of the Chinese guards shot Jack in the vest. Cheng escaped into one of his hummers and instructed the driver to move into the mountains. Air support began to go after Cheng, but the helicopter was shot down. All the hostiles who were at the building were killed and Nadia Yassir ordered for Jack to be placed into custody.
Shortly after 1am, Cheng uploaded the data on the FB subcircuit board to one of his associates. Cheng learned that the component was damaged and unless it was fixed, the data on the component was useless. Cheng found someone to repair the component, but he had to carry out an operation in exchange. He hired Zhou Yong and group of mercenaries to infiltrate CTU, in order to recover Josh Bauer. Cheng gave Zhou instructions on how to shutdown CTU's communications and infiltrate the building. When Zhou had Josh in his custody, he reported back to Cheng, who informed Phillip Bauer that he had his grandson. Phillip asked for Cheng to call once he had his grandson with him. He also told him that he would hand over the circuit board once Josh was with him.
Josh was brought back to Cheng's base and he called Phillip. Phillip told Josh that he would take him away from the country and start a new life with him in China. Cheng had Josh placed in his limousine, but Josh protested and stated that his grandfather scared him. Cheng told Josh that he should be honored, as Phillip was a visual genius. As Cheng and his men began to leave the parking lot, Jack and Field Unit Bravo intervened. Cheng took Josh and used him as a shield. He made it out of the parking garage and onto the building's rooftop, but there Josh managed to escape from him and hide under a catwalk, by hanging from pipes over an opening into the building below. Seconds later, Jack caught up with them and got the drop on Cheng. At gunpoint, he demanded for Cheng to surrender. However, Josh began to lose his grip on the pipes and called out for help. While Jack pulled Josh back up to safety, Cheng used the opportunity to escape.
Cheng called Phillip and informed him that Josh was no longer in his custody. Phillip would only hand over the sub-circuit board if he had Josh. He claimed that the circuit board was now his and Cheng began to make threats. Phillip warned Cheng that there would be serious consequences if he made any further threats, and Cheng furiously hung up the phone. Phillip then contacted Tom Lennox, the White House Chief of Staff. He offered a deal to Vice President Daniels, Karen Hayes, and Lennox. Phillip would handover the component in exchange for his grandson. With no other options, Daniels ultimately agreed to Phillip's proposal.
Unknown to the White House administration and CTU, Phillip was still working with Cheng and did not intend on giving the component to the United States government at all. The only ones who were against the trade were Jack and Karen. Josh was brought to an offshore oil rig and Cheng instructed for a Chinese submarine to arrive at the rig. However, Jack and Bill Buchanan arrived at the oil rig and engaged in a firefight with the hostiles. Jack demanded for the location of the boy, but Cheng claimed that it was "too late." Buchanan brought Cheng to a helicopter, as he waited for Jack to get back with Josh. Though Josh arrived, Jack was still with his father. Buchanan flew the helicopter off the rig, and Jack managed to grab a hold of the helicopter. The component was destroyed in an air strike attack, which was initiated by Daniels. Jack then jumped into the sea and found his way to the shore. He didn't want to go back to CTU, as he wanted to see Audrey one last time.
When Cheng arrived back at CTU with Josh and Buchanan, he was told that he would be transported to a federal detention center. Cheng told Buchanan, "my people will not abandon me, like you abandoned Jack Bauer".
After Day 6
During Jack Bauer's interrogation at District, Agent Jorge Ramirez announced that Cheng claimed Jack had given up the identity and location of Marcus Holt, a CTU operative inside China, despite the fact that Cheng originally told Bill Buchanan that Jack hadn't spoken a word in nearly two years. He also told him that Cheng provided an inventory of the drugs he used during Jack's interrogation.
Cheng was turned over by the United States, and imprisoned by the Chinese government which caused him to feel betrayed by them and want revenge. ("Day 9: 8:00pm-9:00pm") He eventually escaped from prison, however, and staged his own death so successfully that intelligence communities all around the world believed he was dead. He independently forged a partnership with Russian intelligence operative Anatol Stolnavich to cause a war between China and the West. ("Day 9: 9:00pm-10:00pm") To do so, he hired Adrian Cross to create the defense override module so the U.S. military could be tricked into committing an act of war. Cross was unaware of Cheng's true identity as a terrorist, instead believing him to be a representative of the Chinese government negotiating for the device in exchange for funding Open Cell's activities.
During the events of Day 9, Cheng traveled to London to meet with Adrian Cross and receive the defense override module he had hired him to build. Knowing that Cross and his Open Cell group were hiding in an abandoned college laboratory, Cheng and his men arrived first and murdered all of the members of Cross' group. When Cross and Chloe O'Brian arrived with the device, they were shocked to find the bodies of Open Cell's members before being confronted by Cheng and his men. When the upset Cross asked why Cheng would do this, the latter explained that Cross himself was responsible as he tried to deceive Cheng by trying to give the technology away to the rest of the world instead of handing it over to them like he was originally paid to do. When Cheng's technician claimed that the device had been modified, Cheng shot Cross in the leg to trick Chloe into fixing it, when in reality he was using her to give him access to the firmware interface.
After gaining access to the device interface, Cheng shot Cross in the head. He then used the device to draft a false fire order for the USS Massachusetts, a United States Navy submarine, against the Chinese carrier Shenyang, which resulted in thousands of deaths. Cheng did this out of revenge for China imprisoning him, feeling they betrayed him. After confirming the sinking of the ship, he and his men abandoned the building, taking Chloe hostage. However, Chloe managed to grab a cell phone and record Cheng's voice before they left.
As they drove away, Cheng contacted Anatol Stolnavich, who had arranged to ex-filtrate Cheng out of London on a Dutch cargo ship. He then instructed Cheng to head to the Southampton Docks to meet his men. On the way, Chloe managed to free herself and jump out of the van. As Cheng ordered the driver to pull over, he sent his men after her. But when a soldier spotted them on the side of the street, he decided to continue without her. Knowing that he had no more leverage, Cheng sent a sniper and a back-up shooter to hold Audrey Boudreau hostage at Malden Park while he escaped.
Cheng and his men arrived at the docks after 10:00pm where they met the captain and the leader of a group of Russian mercenaries tasked to protect them. Cheng tried to expedite the departure of the ship, but the captain advised against it to avoid raising any flags. While stationed at the ship cabin, Cheng realized Jack Bauer had found him. After ordering the captain to start the engines, Cheng ordered the death of Audrey.
When Jack learned of Audrey's death, he killed the rest of the ship's crew in a rage and stormed the cabin, killing Cheng's men. After a brutal fight, Jack broke Cheng's arm and subdued him before contacting President James Heller so they could record Cheng's face to confirm to President Wei that Cheng was alive. With Cheng refusing to cooperate with Jack's orders to identify himself, Jack grabbed a katana off the wall and held it to Cheng's throat. Finally, Cheng defiantly acknowledged that "my name is Cheng Zhi!" CIA technician Gavin Leonard was able to get both a facial and voice recognition of Cheng's identity, the proof the President Heller needed to convince President Wei to stand down and narrowly prevent the crisis from turning into an all-out war.
With the crisis averted, Jack told Cheng "this is for Audrey you son of a bitch" and decapitated Cheng with the katana, killing him and avenging Audrey.
Background information and notes
- He appears in 15 episodes across 4 seasons; see his recurring antagonist distinctions. Cheng has the most season appearances (as an antagonist) of any character (several characters, such as Charles Logan and Tony Almeida appeared in more seasons but were not antagonists for more than 3).
- During his first appearance in "Day 4: 3:00am-4:00am," Cheng introduces himself to Michelle Dessler as Cheng Dao. Then, starting with the Previously segment in "Day 4: 5:00am-6:00am", the name changed to Cheng Zhi.
- The exact price Wayne Palmer's administration paid (described by Cheng Zhi as a "very high" one) for Bauer's freedom at the start of Day 6 was never specified.
- Most characters mispronounced his name as "Cheng Zi". However, the letter "h" in "Zhi" is not silent.
- Along with Day 2's Marshall Goren (who, unlike Cheng, was beheaded postmortem), Cheng is one of two characters to be beheaded by Bauer.
- Cheng's death is both the final on-screen kill by Jack Bauer and the final death on Live Another Day.