Growing up in China under Chairman Mao
I was born and grew up in Chengdu, the capital city of the Chinese province of Sichuan. Today, it is one of the most populous cities in Western China. Our lives there, for as long as I can remember, were totally controlled by the Communist Party of China (CPC), and its Chairman at the time, Mao Zedong. Like many, I was brainwashed in public school from a very early age to conform and obey, and oppressed throughout my youth for having my own opinions. I remember being told things like: Chairman Mao was our supreme leader who loved us more than our parents, the CPC was the only Party for the poor and working class, and the Capitalists and dissidents must be eliminated. We chanted every day “Long live Chairman Mao, 10,000 years and another 10,000 years.” Mao became a God to my generation. We had to worship him, obey him and the CCP.
Although we were oppressed in our daily lives, we never challenged the authorities. We could not voice our own opinions on anything, could not access any truth – only government-controlled press. We lived in a primitive community housing with eight families sharing one bathroom and one outdoor water faucet. We were issued food rationing stamps based on my parents positions in a state factory. I was hungry all the time. We were told in schools what hair styles to use, what colors of clothing to wear, what pictures to draw, what songs to sing and what dances to do, and when was the appropriate time to laugh and cry. Dating was banned until I was a junior in college. Then I became a rebellious teenager.
I didn’t know anything about liberty at the time, I didn’t even know what it meant. However, I often found myself fighting with my Party Committee Secretary a.k.a party boss, while I was a faculty member of the Fudan University Law School in Shanghai. At the time, I didn’t really have a clear conception or understanding of what I was fighting for, or against. All I knew is that I just wanted to be left alone. That’s when I became interested in the rest of the world.
In 1988, I left China, and came to the United States to attend graduate school. Even after moving here, it took me over 20 years in the U.S. to rid myself of all the educational garbage I received growing up in China.
Running as a Libertarian for Office in Colorado
By 2008, after countless hours of self-education, and discussions with liberty minded individuals, I became a true independent thinker, and started getting involved in political activism. So much so that in 2014, I ran for Colorado State House District 44 and later in 2016, I was a candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado. After my campaign was over, and all the experience I gained from that adventure, I started looking for a new direction in life.
Visiting New Hampshire for the First Time
I recall a while ago, someone told me about the State of New Hampshire, and how things were different there, so I decided to check it out with my own two eyes to see what all the hype was about. In November 2016, in the middle of fall, I traveled to New Hampshire for the very first time and spent four days there.
I went to meetings with local activists, visited the State House, read the New Hampshire State Constitution and even got myself a personal copy. I also used our time visiting to look at homes in various towns.
I fell in love with New Hampshire for its natural beauty, the White Mountain, rivers, lakes and beaches, its wonderful decent people, and of course its motto, “Live Free or Die.” After that visit we were determined to move and make New Hampshire our new home.
The Challenges of Moving
I have been self-employed and working from home for the most part, but my husband John had built a 20 plus year career with the company he worked for as an engineer and manager. It was not easy for us to leave family, friends, and businesses behind after our many years in Colorado and Wyoming.
All in all, I visited New Hampshire eight times between 2016 and 2019, and we took two years to prepare for the move. There were just so many things we had to take care of before the big move, like helping my brother, a new Chinese immigrant to buy a home in Colorado, and taking care of my aging parents’ living arrangements, selling a rental house, and buying a house in New Hampshire where we wanted to live, but also helping our youngest daughter to settle down in a college. Plus we even had to close down a couple of home businesses that weren’t so profitable, and work out our financial plans and health insurance coverage post John’s retirement. We had our work cut out for us.
3000 Miles Later
Last November, we finally made the move to Weare, in two separate moving trips that covered over 3000 miles each way. When we arrived the 2nd time in a 26-foot truck, there were 15 freedom lovers to help us unload it — it only took 90 minutes to get the job done. The best part was that some of the people who showed up, we had never met before.
It was a great, heartwarming experience to come home to a community where people share the dream of “Liberty in our lifetime.” I sincerely hope more freedom lovers would move to New Hampshire and that people who are already here will make the maximum efforts to create a freer society.
I feel like New Hampshire is one of the last bastions of freedom in the U.S., and a unique chance to live in a relatively free society. I am shocked to see so many places in America, starting to look more and more like my native country, China. This is scary. I feel like I would have no other place to go if we were to lose our liberties in New Hampshire.
Lily Tang Williams: Spreading the Message of Freedom
Lately, I have been traveling around the country to tell my story to as many people as I can. The story of what it really is like to grow up under the tyranny of socialism and communism. My hope is to help educate youth about the importance of freedom and the fight to preserve it. And nowhere is that fight more relevant than in New Hampshire.
By: Lily Tang Williams