My story begins in Chengdu, China, at the dawn of the Cultural Revolution, an insanity that gripped millions of my former countrymen. My family was destitute, as were most Chinese during that period. We lived in a primitive worker’s row house by a river, sharing one tarp-covered outhouse and one water faucet with eight families. Our apartment mud floor, after occasional flooding, would sprout mushrooms.

My parents were illiterate workers, so their positions in the state factory were too low to be rationed much food. A full belly was a luxury. All we knew was a life of arduous labor and chaos. Little time was spent thinking of philosophical fantasies concerning “oppression” and “rights,” instead, we labored to survive, struggling to endure.

I was brainwashed to be the model communist citizen in schools. I wrote ideologically validating diaries, which our masters mandated they read. I memorized Mao’s words. I recited his political slogans as prayer and made sure that every word I uttered was politically correct. Mao was our god, and I was his faithful disciple.

In 1976, when I was 12 years old, Mao died, and the Cultural Revolution ended. When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) admitted that Mao was only a man and the Cultural Revolution was just a mistake, my faith in the CCP began to crack.

Soon, China’s renaissance began. Schools and colleges reopened, and after three years of hard work and preparation, I passed the national entrance exam. I was accepted into a top-tier university to study law. I had hopes that China should not be ruled by men but by law. Yet even the law was an extension of the will of men, modeled after the Soviet Union legal code. It was the antithesis of justice.

It was during this time I met an American student. What he showed me would forever change my life — a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. When I read the lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident… (that all men) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” what ideas! Rights come not from the benevolence of the state but from God? I learned U.S. citizens have constitutionally enumerated their rights to free speech, free press, freedom to assemble, religious freedom, right to vote and bear arms, etc. Never had I imagined that I, an individual, had rights. Those words shattered what remained of my mental shackles. Knowing where my rights came from, I began to dream about that “City upon a Hill.”

I eventually made it to America in 1988. In the decades since I have thrived in this great country. I earned a graduate degree, married, raised three children, started my own business, searched for deeper truths, learned much about liberty and the free market, rid myself of CCP indoctrination, naturalized as a U.S. citizen, and volunteered in my local community.

In the last six years, I have traveled around the country to share my personal stories and educate our youth about the horrors of Communism. I always defend the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, exceptional documents with beautiful words that freed me from my enslavement and helped me choose America as my home. I am currently running for U.S. House in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. I hope the voters get to know me and how passionate I feel about defending the U.S. Constitution, our individual rights, and liberty.

Happy Constitution Day.