2003 - 2006 (Deceased)
Dr Li-Mei Chen first arrived in Shortland Street as a keen medical student in 2003, she had just moved to New Zealand, and boarded with Nick and Waverley Harrison. Li-Mei's over-ambitious attitude meant she often came across as quite rude, and was quite unpopular amongst the staff.
Li Mei found a friend in Marshall Heywood until he developed romantic feelings for her, creating cartoon character Woo Mi in her image. She later became friends with Anne Kahu, however Li Mei started sleeping with Anne's husband, Victor who was the CEO at the time, in the hope of furthering her career through this, when Anne eventually found out about the affair, her friendship with Li Mei ended.
In 2004, Li Mei began dating undertaker, Norman Hanson. The two had a rocky started as he struggled with her abrasive attitude and lack of compassion, and broke it off with her when he thought she was ashamed of him. This caused Li Mei to fight for the relationship and gave a public declaration to Norman, so the two got back together. Li Mei was determined to specialise in Orthopaedics, despite being discriminated against because of her gender and race and being told she is physically too small to succeed in that field. She did a stint as a house officer in ED, where she found a mentor in the new Head of the Emergency Department, Craig Valentine, however the relationship turned sour after Craig heard about Li Mei's affair with Victor and accused her of attempting to sleep her way to the top with him and Li Mei was insulted at the implication. She revealed that she was in love with Norman and as a result he eventually proposed to her. However Li Mei has strong views against marriage and so she turned Norman down, leaving him gutted.
Later in the year, Victor was arrested for the murder of Geoff Greenlaw and Li Mei was his alibi for the night of the murder as she was sleeping with him in a motel that night. However Li Mei wasn't convinced that Victor was in the motel all night and told the cops as much, causing the staff to turn against her. However, despite feeling strongly that she couldn't lie in court and say she was sure that Victor was with her at the time of the murder, her conscience got the better of her and she ended up lying in court to support Victor's alibi. Unfortunately the prosecuting lawyer then discredited her reliability by bringing up the fact that she used to be a phone sex worker, which later ended up all over the news, whilst Victor was found guilty of murder and sent to jail, meaning Li Mei had lied for nothing.
Li Mei became jealous when Norman's flirtatious female traveling friend came to visit from America. She quickly fell in love with New Zealand and decided she wanted to move there permanently. However when she realised how long it would take to get a visa sorted, her and Norman decided to get married to get her a greencard. Li Mei insisted that she didn't care who Norman married as she was never going to marry him herself, however on the day of the wedding, Maia convinced Li Mei she was making a big mistake, not realising the only reason Norman agreed to go through with it was so that Li Mei would realise she wanted to marry him herself. Li Mei rushed to the registry office and managed to stop the wedding just in time to admit she wanted to marry Norman instead.
Li Mei's life became a whole lot more stressful when her Chinese mother came to visit, with a man she turned out to be betrothed to. Li Mei was initially reluctant to tell her mother she was engaged to Norman, however when the truth eventually came out, her mother was devastated because of the reputation an undertaker has in China, as the lowest of the low. Norman realised that the only way he would get the blessing of Li Mei's family would be to change careers, and so he bought a bar, the Coltrane, and quit his job as an undertaker. This impressed Li Mei's mother, and they got her blessing.
Li Mei finished her rotation in ED and started a rotation in plastics working alongside Chris Warner and Mark Weston. She initially clashed with Mark as she felt Chris frequently favouritised him over her in terms of interesting cases because it was a blokes club, causing her to resort to disobeying Chris' orders and taking on Mark's part of a surgery, leaving Chris angry with Li Mei for being so arrogant and disobedient. After a surgical function she attended with Mark, the two realised they had a mutual attraction, which made Norman jealous, and caused the couple to frequently argue over Mark. However, Li Mei eventually succumbed to her attraction and began sleeping with Mark behind Norman's back. The two ended the affair at the start of 2005, however Norman eventually worked out that the two had been sleeping together and broke up with Li Mei.
Li Mei was devastated and did everything she could think of to win back Norman, however when Chris offered her a permanent position as a plastics surgical registrar she quickly took it, only to later realise that she would never win Norman back if she was working with Mark every day. She later turned down the position, annoying Chris and leaving her with no job. This wasn't enough for Norman to forgive her, however, after she eventually learned to say sorry for what she'd done, and attempted to cook Norman a romantic meal, the pair reignited their passion and got back together.
Li Mei was devastated later in 2005 when Norman was diagnosed with a brain tumour. This softened the abrasive Li Mei, who nursed him through his cancer diagnosis. However, in October, Li-Mei and Norman were involved in a car accident, which aggravated his brain tumour and Norman passed away, leaving Li-Mei devastated.
In 2006 a deadly virus breaks out, which Li-Mei contracts, Chris Warner gives his best efforts to save her, but sadly the virus is too severe for her to fight off, and Chris calls off Maia's resuscitation, and Li-Mei passes away, tragically almost a year after Norman's death.