Jia once lived in Beijing, where she met Patrick, her would-be husband. After they got married, which became somewhat of a scandal then, the couple ran the Beijing Institute and divided their time between the Institute and Idris before finally moving to Alicante in the late 1990s.
During the trial for the remaining members of the Circle involved in the Uprising, Jia and her husband voted for leniency for the Lightwoods, an act for which the family has always been grateful. The Lightwoods have been good family friends ever since.
In September 2007, the Penhallows allowed the Lightwoods to stay at their house so they could attend the meetings discussing the war against Valentine Morgenstern. Along with the Lightwoods, the Penhallows also housed Patrick's nephew, Sebastian Verlac, as a guest.
When "Sebastian" killed Max Lightwood, his mother, Maryse, was infuriated and had an argument with Jia and Patrick for allowing a killer into their house. Unbeknownst to all of them, "Sebastian" was in fact Valentine's son, Jonathan, in disguise. Jia and Patrick then called Élodie to tell them about Sebastian. Upset and disbelieving, Élodie insisted that there must have been some mistake, so she sent them photos, through which the family was able to verify that the Sebastian they met was an impostor. Aline would then be the one to pass the message onto the Lightwoods through Clary Fray and Luke Garroway.
Not long afterwards, Valentine and Jonathan sent another wave of demons into Alicante. This time, the Shadowhunters were prepared, and a full-blown war took place. Jia and Patrick fought alongside other adult Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and they quickly won the battle in a matter of minutes.
Also some time after, their daughter Aline, inspired by Alec Lightwood, who publicly kissed his boyfriend Magnus Bane in Alicante, came out to them as a lesbian and began dating Helen Blackthorn, a half-faerie, half-Shadowhunter Council member. The couple mostly did not discuss her sexuality, but while Patrick was saddened for mostly selfish reasons, Jia was worried that Helen, part of a race known for their untrustworthiness, would break her daughter's heart.
Months later, Jia was named Consul. During the search for the missing Jace Herondale and Sebastian Morgenstern, Jia petitioned to continue the search for them in full force but was ultimately vetoed when majority of the Clave decided to prioritize fixing the wards over Wrangel Island. During this time, her daughter Aline was aware of a secret ongoing rescue effort by the young Shadowhunters of the New York Institute. Not wanting the Clave to put a stop to it, Aline agreed not to alert the Clave or Jia. After the confrontation against the Endarkened at Burren, and the subsequent retrieval of Jace, both Maryse and Aline lied to her about the events leading up to it, claiming to not have not found the time or means to alert them before the battle.
Jia and her husband, Patrick allowed Emma Carstairs and Helen's siblings; Julian, Tiberius, Livia, Drusilla and Octavian (with the exception of Mark, who got captured by Sebastian) to stay at their home when they portaled to Alicante after the Los Angeles Institute was attacked by Sebastian and his Endarkened army. Jia and the Inquisitor, Robert Lightwood interrogated Julian and his younger siblings, with the exception of Octavian, and Emma with the Mortal Sword. Jia and Robert sent Shadowhunters through a Portal when Sebastian and his Endarkened attacked the Adamant Citadel, and Jace and Clary went to the battle without their permission.
Jia held a Clave meeting informing her fellow Shadowhunters about the Downworld representatives being kidnapped by Sebastian. Jia's life was threatened by Matthias Gonzales, the former head of the Buenos Aires Institute, and he told the Clave to surrender Clary and Jace up to Sebastian. Alec saved Jia's life by hitting Matthias with his bow and arrow. Jia, Patrick, the Lightwoods, Jace, Clary, Simon and brothers Enoch and Zachariah discussed whether or not to surrender Jace and Clary up to Sebastian. Jia along with her daughter, Aline and her girlfriend, Helen, Maryse and Robert and Brother Enoch and Zachariah attended the funeral for the Shadowhunters who died at the Citadel battle. Jia spoke to Brother Zachariah about Tessa and also about Edward Longford, who killed himself after killing his parabatai.
Jia had a brief conversation with Sebastian and she found out that Clary and Jace left Alicante. Jia and Patrick found out from Maryse and Robert that Alec and Isabelle including Simon Lewis fled Alicante, unaware that they went to Edom to rescue the Downworld representatives and Jocelyn. Jia received a letter from Julian and Emma written by Julian's older brother, Mark, about the Fair Folk's betrayal and learned that Mark was a member of the Wild Hunt. Jia promised Julian and Emma to try to get Mark back for them.
Jia had Julian and Emma talk to the Council about what they knew about Sebastian without using the Mortal Sword. Jia and her husband, Patrick, Maryse and Robert, Kadir Safar, Diana Wrayburn, Tomas Rosales and Brothers Enoch and Zachariah held a meeting about the Fair Folk's betrayal and their preparations to attack them, and spoke of requesting aid from the warlocks of the Spiral Labyrinth.
Jia recieved a warlock message from Catarina Loss which was written in Maia Robert's handwriting warning the Nephilim that Sebastian and his Endarkened would be attacking Alicante. Jia and her family and the rest of the adults fought against Sebastian's Endarkened and the faerie warriors when they attacked Alicante.
At the Council after the Dark War, Jia and the Clave had the faeries sign a set of sanctions for their betrayal which they begrudgingly agreed. Helen and Mark Blackthorn, because of their faerie blood, were also caught up in the Clave's punishment of the Fair Folk. Helen got banished to Wrangel Island to study the wards which devastated her and her girlfriend—her own daughter, Aline—while Helen's brother Mark was left indefinitely with the Wild Hunt, despite his family's protests.
Jia spoke to Luke about the Council meeting which was interrupted by Julian and Emma. Julian and Emma were angry at Jia for going back on her promise and they made her agree to perform the parabatai ritual as Julian and Emma had already agreed to be parabatai. Jia told Emma that Julian's uncle Arthur had agreed to let Emma stay with his family at the Los Angeles Institute, and that Diana Wrayburn would be the new tutor since Katerina died. Jia let Clary call Simon, however Simon didn't remember Clary leaving her visibly upset.
Since Aline's girlfriend was exiled to Wrangel Island, Aline followed shortly after. The couple were wed at the end of 2009, and Jia served as her daughter's suggenes, giving Aline to Helen. Jia remained in constant contact with her and spent several evenings writing letters to her.
Ever since becoming Consul, Jia has designed a routine to de-stress: she swims, the rigor depending on how stressful the day was, then she takes a leisurely walk through Idris's hills or in the Penhallow garden, and she ends with a cup of hot chocolate and a novel to read.
Jia is said to greatly resemble her daughter, Aline.
- City of Glass (first appearance)
- City of Lost Souls (mentioned only)
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (mentioned only)
- Bitter of Tongue
- Angels Twice Descending
- Lady Midnight (mentioned only)
- Lord of Shadows