Despite my anger with this administration for the way it is treating me, I am eternally grateful to God for His mercy and for using this situation to bring me closer to Him.
Because of three assassination attempts against me, my family and I were put under government protection twice by heavily-armed FBI agents. But it wasn’t just professional killers that were after me. During the Chinagate scandal, I felt like a hunted animal being chased by the news media, congressional investigators and professional prosecutors of the Department of Justice.
I tried to build the proverbial wall around my household in an attempt to protect my family. I wanted to isolate us from the outside world. But I was unable to do anything concrete to protect them – convicted felons are not allowed to own firearms.
That was very frustrating for me, because I am an expert shot with rifles and handguns. I used to be a firearms collector and could even make my own bullets. A group of Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies saw me shooting at a range one day and said I was good enough to be an official sniper.
But after Chinagate went public, I had to give up my weapons. I felt so helpless not being able to defend my own family during the assassination scares. I had to completely rely on the FBI. There’s nothing worse for a man than not being able to protect his own family.
While under government protection, isolated in a small hotel room, I soon realized I had no idea what my future would be. My daily life was controlled by others. I had no way of knowing what would happen the next day. I had no way of controlling my own life and my own family. We were are all under the control of others.
I had a lot of time on my hands, and I spent it reading my Bible. When I was a kid, I always read the Bible before I went to sleep. I memorized verses and listened to my mother’s wise words. She said being a good Christian means talking and acting exactly the way the Bible tells us to do, and that includes not lying.
But during my business pursuits in the United States, I turned my eyes away from God and His Word. I often ran ahead of God – I stopped praying and reading the Bible. I never gave up my business dream and turned into a workaholic.
Then, in 1988, God sent me a warning sign: My computer company went bankrupt. But I ignored the sign and kept pursuing my business ventures.
God pulled the plug on October 15, 1996, two weeks before the general election. My face appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times as the poster boy of the Chinagate scandal. I became a key player in this saga, appearing on the daily news and in demand by the FBI, Justice Department and Congress.
Suddenly, because of all of this, my friends walked away from me. Even my own Chinese church members turned the other way. Everyone was afraid of being associated with me.
With no one to turn to and more time that I’d had in my entire life, I turned my eyes back to God’s Word. I prayed everyday, without ceasing. I had never lost my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, but I had lost my intimate relationship with him. This ordeal helped me realize that even when you think you have control over your life, you don’t. The Lord is ultimately in control of everything, and He has a purpose for everyone, including me.
I was normally allowed one hour a day in the sunshine by the hotel swimming pool, wearing a tee shirt, sunglasses and ball cap. I used the time to read my Bible and pray. On one occasion, it suddenly occurred to me how good the California sunshine felt – you can feel it on your skin.
I guess you have to lose something before you can really appreciate a treasure like sunshine. I began to realize that it’s so easy to pray to the Lord anytime I wanted. When I was busy with my business life, I always said I didn’t have time to sit down and pray.
In November 1996, just after the scandal went public, my mom and I sat down in my backyard.
“With all of these legal expenses and all your business friends walking away from you, how are you going to face the tremendous financial burden?” she asked me.
I said, “Mom, I have faith that God will provide.” And He did.
The DNC asked my attorney if it could keep the money I donated, but my wife replied, saying, “No way! We want every single penny back. Just look at what you have done to us.”
So the DNC returned the $366,000 I had donated, which I then used to pay a portion of my legal expenses and taxes I owed for that year.
To this day, I have worked hard to pay the bills. I’ve barely been able to put food on the table, but we’re not going hungry. We’re not as comfortable as we used to be, but we’re making it. God provides.
People say men don’t grow up until they turn 40. A woman, after 18, is grown up, but men are always boys. By the time I had turned 40, I had lost all my friends, the business I had worked so hard to build and my reputation, but I still had my honesty and integrity.
At the age of 40, God allowed me to kick back and take it all in. And if God is willing, I have another 30 or 40 years ahead of me. I’m going to make the most of that time by being useful to my family, my community and my country, just as a Christian should be.
As a child, I had a peace in my heart from my relationship with Jesus Christ. But when I wrapped myself up in my business, I lost that peace. After I told the Justice Department, FBI and Congress everything I knew about the scandal, that peace came back, even in the midst of my ordeal. It is the peace that surpasses all understanding. That’s what has kept me strong during this tremendously difficult time in my life.
When we finally came home after weeks in the hotel, I asked my pastor, Verl Lindley, “How do I know when I am being a good Christian? How can I be humble in God’s eyes?”
His answer was very interesting: I should imagine that the penalty for being a Christian is death and then ask myself, “Is there enough evidence to convict me?”
That opened my mind. I realized that the more this White House administration and DNC officials tried to trash me and wrongly accuse me, I could take solace in knowing that I was being a good Christian by telling the truth. The truth is light, and darkness hates the light.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
That’s why I have peace in our home and in my heart. I know God is with me. The Lord has not only given me peace, but He’s also given me the courage to speak out.
The last three-and-a-half years since Chinagate have been filled with personal tragedies as well. My 84-year-old father was diagnosed with stomach cancer, had heart bypass surgery and is now showing the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Last year, my only brother passed away because of heart disease. And this year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, had her left breast removed and is undergoing chemotherapy.
But I thank God that I was able to be with my brother in his last days and that I am alive to take care of my parents. Through all of this, God is giving me the strength to face whatever future plans He has for me.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not easy to do what I have done – come out and tell the truth in the midst of personal tragedy and at great personal cost. But it is the right thing to do.
As the son of two ill, aging parents, the husband of a wonderful Christian wife and father of four amazing kids — a college co-ed, a 6-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter and a baby boy – I must come forward with the truth, whatever it costs. That’s my responsibility as a Christian, as a son, as a husband and as a father.
I believe that some day, when my kids are all grown up, they will know I kept a good family tradition for them. And they will never, ever feel ashamed to bear the family name.