A young businessman said he had to cut ties with his family in China in hopes of protecting them from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) harassment. The intimidation began after he publicized photos and videos during the early days of the Wuhan lockdown in January 2020.
Yi Liufei, now residing in the United States, wrote a letter to his father announcing the end of their family relationship. He said he was “hoping the family will be safe” in an interview with the Chinese edition of the Epoch Times on Oct. 5.
Police have harassed Yi’s family since July, after he spoke out against the CCP at a rally in Los Angeles.
Yi comes from Gongan County, Hubei Province, in central China, which is 160 miles south of Wuhan.
Yi visited his hometown in late January for the Chinese New Year festival. As lockdowns began in January, Yi saw the provincial border with the neighboring province of Hunan in the south, was shuttered with wood boards, boxes, and metal sheets.
Residents living near the provincial border, who were out shopping, found it difficult to get back home. Roads were blocked, and small lanes were closed with metal plates.
Yi took photos and videos of the situation, and uploaded them to a messaging app, alerting his friends to the severity of the pandemic.
The following day, security police from Guangzhou, where Yi’s business is located, contacted him. They demanded he come to the police station “for an explanation,” an expression used by Chinese police that means for interrogation. Yi couldn’t get there because of the lockdown.
Police in his hometown also summoned Yi “for an explanation,” to which he complied.
He later went to the police station in Guangzhou after he came back from his hometown. The police blasted Yi for “disseminating false statements,” and said that Yi’s videos “were a threat to the Party and the state.” They told Yi to delete his WeChat account.
“The police know all your personal details—your family’s address, your phone number, everything. In mainland China, people have no privacy at all,” Yi said.
Although he was not arrested, Yi felt increasingly worried. He left China for the United States in June this year.
Police Intimidation of Yi’s Family
The CCP celebrates its founding on July 1 every year. Yi joined other CCP dissidents this year in a protest against the communist regime, on the anniversary date, outside the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles.
Local police went to see Yi’s father, who still lives in Hubei province. They ordered him to persuade his son to stop his “anti-China” activities in the United States. The police also threatened Yi’s father saying, if Yi doesn’t quit such activities, they will freeze Yi’s assets in China.
“I felt very pained, but I can understand my father,” Yi said sadly. He explained to his father that he isn’t anti-China—he is anti-CCP.
“People of his age have experienced many political campaigns,” said Yi. “They don’t know the difference between China and the CCP. They are scared and are severely brainwashed by the CCP.”
Yi had to announce that he cut all ties with his family in a letter to his father. “I will do anything to keep my family in China safe,” Yi said.
Yi still feels the lingering pain when he recalls the lockdowns of Wuhan and other areas of Hubei.
“The CCP does not care about the life and death of the people,” Yi said. The local authorities imposed a sudden and complete lockdown of the province, turning it into a huge prison.
“There is a family in a neighboring city whose parents were taken away and isolated, which left their child at home alone. No one came to help the child, who was starved to death.”
Yi said state news channels were full of propaganda songs praising Wuhan city and Hubei province.
“What residents in other areas of China said was ‘Catch Wuhan residents! Lock up Hubei residents!’” Yi added.
“[There are] a lot of lies in China.”
He wanted to give the world a true picture, despite the tight censorship of the CCP because, “someone must keep a record of the evils of the CCP.”
Yi encouraged Chinese people to speak up against the CCP, because for most people in China, “fear silences them,” he said. “As time passes by, people’s memory will blur, just like people gradually forgot the CCP’s massacre of students on Tiananmen Square in 1989 and its persecution of Falun Gong since 1999.”
However, many Chinese people are waking up, Yi said with a smile.
He learned that nearly 400 million Chinese have quit the CCP Party, Youth League, or Young Pioneers. Yi was a member of the Young Pioneers as a young boy, so he declared he quit the organization after he moved to the United States.
“I hope that one day, all Chinese people are able to get rid of the cruel and authoritarian regime,” Yi said.
Daniel Holl and Sophia Lam contributed to the article.