This op-ed appeared on RespectNH.
Lots of people don’t understand what the government is. Government is force, it is coercion. When you rely on government to pass laws and make everything mandatory, how do they enforce that? They use guns, prisons. They can arrest you and lock you up. I’m all for taking personal responsibility – doing things voluntarily for yourself, for your family and for your community.
I was born in the People’s Republic of China. I lived through 10 years of Mao’s Cultural Revolution and grew up under Mao’s regime. We had one-party rule in China, that controlled everything from school, propaganda, the press to the means of production. Everybody worked for the government… my parents worked in government factories six days a week.
One of the 10 planks of Communism was free education for all. It was never really free, of course, my parents had to pay for three children’s tuition and books. And education was completely centralized. Everything from curriculum, tests to subjects and more came from the central government in Beijing.
They divided the families into 10 classes. Five red [allies of the revolution] and five black [enemies of the revolution]. My mom was from a poor working-class family, so I was lucky to be a red child. If you were in the black classes, you’d be criticized constantly in schools, people would stay away from you. I can only imagine the pressure they faced … I can only imagine their lives when they couldn’t join most of the organizations for students and were ostracized.
There was no privacy. All our teachers and principals worked for the government. They could just come to our home, sit on your bed and talk about school. Local leadership was the same way, a one-party committee called the Communist Party Block Committee was in your neighborhood and it was just total top-down control. The government would collect data on you and keep in a secret file that you would never be able to see. The concept of privacy almost does not exist. That still continues today, with the social credit system.
Because I grew up in that kind of system, I was brainwashed. I lost my soul, I lost my religion, I lost my God. I went to university in Shanghai at 17 and finished law school at age 21. The professor taught us that the law is a tool for the governing class to govern the masses – not for liberty, justice or for the regular common folks. I lost my faith and communism was basically like a religion. I lost hope for law to transform China into a rule of law society.
I was also a little rebellious, and I started to talk to foreigners. I met American exchange students and this one told me about America. He opened my mind up and a light bulb came on when he told me about the Declaration of Independence and how all men are created equal and have guaranteed constitutional rights.
That’s when I knew I had to someday flee China. I wanted to come to the United States. Finally, when I became a law school assistant professor I decided to try to come to America for graduate school. My job was totally controlled by the Party, each school and each department was controlled by the Community Party committee. Fleeing wasn’t easy, you had to get permission to leave. I had to make up an excuse why I wanted to come study in the United States, that it would help me do my job better or serve my country better. I wasn’t participating actively in politics at that point, so I have to start going to political meetings every week to support the Party’s policies and convince my boss that he could trust me to come back.
I guess it worked, because I convinced him to give me permission to apply for a passport. In 1988, I came to UT-Austin in Texas to do my master’s degree.
I got married here. We raised our children … it took 20 years in America for me to get rid of how I was brainwashed in China. I started to read about basic economics and free markets. And I began to feel more and more concerned why people in this country were starting to talk in terms I heard in China. I started to become politically aware and active, I began to exercise my parental rights by moving my three children to a charter school. I got involved with that school.
As a citizen and parent, I learned that if we wanted to have more local control we needed to get involved. So, I testified against gun control, supported parental rights and school choice, and even ran for office.
I’m all for people choosing of their own free will to wear a mask, take a vaccine or go to the school of their choice. But when you rely on government solutions, passing laws and regulations, you are relying on force. Do we want the government to criminalize your neighbors, criminalize small business owners? That’s what I’m afraid is happening and it will tear us apart.
It was Marxist theory to separate people into two groups, oppressors and oppressed. Nowadays, we’re seeing this sort of thing happening culturally here, this divide and conquer mentality that is sowing division across the country.
We should respect our neighbors and our fellow citizens, not turn them over to the government if they don’t follow exactly what some bureaucrat ordered. We are not each other’s enemies and that’s why I think it’s so important for me to share my story with people that disagree, to persuade them.
Live Free or Die is the New Hampshire state motto … I trust that New Hampshire’s residents have that spirit.