Yinghong Li

As Interviewed by Amy M., March 13, 2014
"He carried at least 30 pounds of potatoes and walked a length of a 15-hour train ride just to give them to my dad."
Yinghong Li

Introductory Profile: About Yinghong Li

My interviewee is my mom, Yinghong Li. She works for the City of Austin as a Programmer Analyst Senior. She was born in 1961 in Wu County, China which was located in the current Suzhou City in Jiangsu Province. She was born right after the Great Famine and was at a young age when the Cultural Revolution swept in. Rationing was in effect in China then, and it affected many people big time, especially those who lived in rural areas. People went great lengths to make sure their family had enough food. With rationing going on, everyone had limited amounts of food that they could buy. Mao Zedong made times worse for people to handle with the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution brought a large toll of injured and dead people, including administrators and teachers of schools who were killed by their own students.

The Cultural Revolution turned around my mom’s life. Before the Cultural Revolution, her grandfather used to be part of the Communist Party, but he left when the Cultural Revolution began. The hukou system, which is household registration, turned her mom into a traitor along with her dad. Her mom was an assistant principal then. Although she received milder treatment than of those teachers who were injured, it was still painful to endure. She was publicly humiliated in front of a rally full of students of her school and her coworkers, accused of defying the Communist Party. Afterwards, she was sent to a camp.

Yinghong Li is around my height and has short, dark-colored hair. She was prepared for the interview and started out the interview with a serious tone which gradually softened as the interview went by. She paused many times to carefully think about how she could describe her feelings. There were times when her serious tone was interrupted by emotions. She periodically mentioned that her family was better off than many others. I was taken back by how much happened to my mom when she was around my age.