This is not the usual glorification thread, but a discussion of why the character of Chi Yan the Monk (previously Iron Palm Union Chief Kau Cheen Yan), by the time of his death near the end of ROCH, deserves some respect.
In LOCH, Kau Cheen Yan was indisputably evil. He murdered Chow Bak Tung and Ying Goo's infant son so that he might have an advantage over South Emperor Deun Chi Hing at the First Mt. Hua Sword Tournament. During LOCH proper, he collaborated with the Jin Empire and frequently threatened the lives of Gwok Jing and Wong Yung.
We know that Kau Cheen Yan repented and became a monk at the end of LOCH, but his choice to renounce evil and embrace enlightenment in of itself becomes more admirable when one considers how hard he strove to be good. Repudiating evil and embracing good was not something that came easily to Kau Cheen Yan. He struggled with it for decades, and it caused him terrible physical as well as great emotional agony. According to what is revealed during ROCH, Chi Yan slipped a few times and killed or nearly killed a few people, but the point is that he always struggled and tried hard to be good and do the right thing, right up to the bitter end. It would have been so easy for Chi Yan to just give up and let his evil nature rule him once again, but despite the suffering it caused him, he fought against his evil nature and consciously put his all into being good. Sometimes, he failed, but ultimately, he won this struggle...even dying heroically to save innocent people from the Golden Wheel Monk.
In light of this, I think it's only fair to see Chi Yan/Kau Cheen Yan as an individual worthy of respect: he had an evil nature, but took great pains to get this evil nature under control and be good. From a certain point of view, this is more heroic than doing good because one is naturally good (a la the various protagonists).