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On Aug. 28, 1996, I told my wife I was going on a business trip
because some of my Chinese business friends wanted to have their
pictures taken with the president. I took them to Chicago where the
Democrat National Convention was being held.
Although this was a business trip, my heart was filled with
excitement. I used to be a die-hard Democrat. I used to think what I
did was good for the party, for my president and my country. When I was
inside the convention, amid an enormous, cheering crowd of people, my
heart was pounding. I felt so proud to be party of history there in
To arrange to have the pictures taken, I went to my point person, Mr.
Richard Sullivan of the DNC. He told me I could meet with the president
after he gave his acceptance speech, but I would have to pay $5,000 per
person for the pictures.
In that moment, all the pomp and circumstance, all the patriotism was
gone. What was displayed in front of the cameras was far different
from the reality behind the scenes. For me, the convention ceased to
be a celebration of America and became a political marketplace. It was
all about the money.
Two weeks before Election Day that year, a Los Angeles Times reporter
began to chase me because Chinagate had just hit the front pages. He
came to my house, knew every member of my family, but he never got a
chance to meet with me. I felt like a hunted animal, so I decided to
I spent two weeks in a city in southern China, close to Hong Kong.
Election night, I did not sleep, because I was watching CNN’s election
coverage via satellite. All the people I had given money to — such as
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Gov. Gray Davis, U.S. Sen. John Kerry,
and the president and vice president of the United States — all won
If I were to play the lottery, I would definitely be a winner. I
always bank on the right people.
That night, I was so excited that I just couldn’t stay in my hotel
room. I ran into the lobby shouting like a crazy man, saying, “My
president, Bill Clinton, won again!” All the Chinese people looked at
me strangely. After all, they don’t understand the concept of a free
election. In China, the presidency is always appointed by the Communist
I went back to my room and didn’t sleep until morning. Before I
drifted off, I thought, “Yes! I’m going to have a great four years!”
The next day, I met with U.S. Ambassador to China James Sasser in my
hotel lobby. He was there to watch the international air show that was
taking place in the area. We posed for pictures together, and he said,
“Johnny, send my greetings and congratulations to our president.” I
told him I would as soon as I returned to Washington, D.C.
I flew back home to Los Angeles, my hometown, after the election,
expecting to begin new adventures. In 1994, I was like Alice in
Wonderland. But by 1996, I knew the lay of the land, and I was ready
for the good times that were just ahead of me. But instead, I came home
to begin what would be the darkest period of my life.
For the last four years, I have been a poster-boy of the Chinagate
scandal. Newspapers and television programs showed my picture almost
daily. My 3-year-old son recognized my face in the news and said, “Dad,
your picture is on TV again. Cool, man!”
Obviously, my son did not understand what was going on. I lost my
business, I lost my reputation, I lost everything I used to own for
something I used to respect and was so proud of — the Democrat Party
and the presidency of the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the last four years of my life, the only
thing supporting me has been the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. At
some points during that time, I thought about killing myself. But
because of God’s mercy, my pastor, Stanley Ponz, invited me to lunch.
The first thing he said to me was, “Johnny, you are not thinking about
killing yourself, are you?”
Of course, I replied, “No, I’m not!” It was an awakening. I knew
that God was sending me a message through my pastor. Since then, I have
become stronger than I ever used to be with the support of my lovely
wife and family. We took the heat together and went through the most
difficult trial of our lives.
Now, here we are again at another Democrat convention. This time, it
is taking place in my hometown of Los Angeles. All I can say is, I’m
not interested. A reporter asked me, “What did you think about
President Clinton’s speech?”
I answered her, saying, “My 84-year-old father brought back home a
28-pound yellow tail fish that night. I was busy cutting the fish with
They are a bunch of people without integrity and honesty. Why should
I listen to their propaganda? Look at what they have done to our
country. Look what they have done to my family and me.
I used to be a die-hard Democrat. I am ashamed of that now. This
administration is so corrupt — I’ve witnessed it with my own two eyes.
The news announced the arrival of the president and the first lady in
Los Angeles this week. Each of them has their own agenda. Clinton is
ready to take away $10 million for his presidential library, and the
first lady is taking $4 million for her senatorial bid. The Clintons
emptied everybody’s pockets and left nothing for the star of the show —
As an old Chinese saying goes, the Clintons took the meat and Al Gore
only drank the soup.
Before I end this column, if you are interested, you can go to
Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) to watch the “700 Club” today,
which will be
broadcasting its interview with me. The crew followed me around for a day and documented my life as a janitor in order to show the price I am paying for my mistakes.
All I am interested in right now is my family, my community and my country. And I will try to be a good witness to the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ.