Your Honor, good morning.
I'm humbled to be here.
This is the last place in the world I would have expected to be if you asked me 16 months ago. I'm 69 years old, born and raised in Hong Kong, China, and all my life I have lived to abridge differences and help people.
I have been deeply moved by the numerous letters that have been submitted to you, to the Court, written on my behalf by people that I have known and have touched me at various parts of my life -- from my youth, from my musical and medical training, my medical teaching and clinical practice, my government service in Hong Kong, and my work at the China Energy Fund Committee think tank, and also from my time here at the Metropolitan Correctional Centers, the "MCC." I have been deeply moved by the letters, and I hope that these letters give you a fair sense of my life work and my life, because these letters speak more thoroughly and deeply than I can here and now. And I'm extremely grateful to the people who wrote them. I'm also grateful because reading these letters reminded me of the path that I had taken over these many years, that I have been blessed to live through so many different chapters, each one more surprising than the last.
The latest chapter is yet to be the most difficult one. There have been times when I felt that my life is over; the world around me has collapsed; my reputation, my career and my life's work destroyed; the foundations of my professional, social and personal life have all been shaken and uprooted.
I feel great remorse that my actions and my situation have caused so heavy a burden on my family and have caused so much grief to the people around me and closest to me -- my wife, my daughter, my mother, as well as colleagues and friends around the world. They have suffered as surely as I have, and I want to apologize to each and every one of them. The actions that have caused this suffering and has brought me to this courtroom today were mine and mine alone. I accept full responsibility for them, and I'm deeply sorry.
In particular, I have been half the world away, and not able to comfort my family gives me great pain. My wife had just lost her mother several months ago, and I was not there to hold her hand and to share her sorrow. I myself lost my father exactly two years ago, in March of 2017. And my mother has lost her mate of 68 years. My mother, who is now 92 years old, has been living alone. And I pray every day that my mother should live a very, very long life so that she can see her son coming back to her side to beg for forgiveness and take care of her the remaining days of her life's journey.
Being incarcerated in a foreign jail for over 16 months has really tested my inner strength and faith. I tried very hard to transform despair into something meaningful, to make something positive about this adversity and predicament.
At the MCC, I had come into close contact with people that I did not know and would not have met otherwise, and this experience had opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to a lot of things. At MCC, I lived among the inmates, interacting with them very closely every day, and through the suicide watch program I provided companionship to many of them who were in the most desperate and vulnerable moments in their lives. And in the education department, I worked closely with many of them to prepare them for examination leading to the High School Equivalency Diploma, the "GED," by giving classes about geography and world relations, telling them stories of faraway places, people, and culture. And I also held discussions with them on the various aspects and options at the end -- they could consider at the end of their incarceration, including discussions on various skill sets that could become useful to them upon reentry to society, such as how to write a résumé, how to prepare for a job interview and speak publicly, how to handle one's financial affairs, and about time management, anger management, and about opportunities in working in a health-related environment.
Our communications originated from mutual sympathy and commiseration, but later on developed into something that was based on the innate ability to understand and appreciate one another as human beings, what we felt and saw between us, which is simple human kindness and human decency we were able to rekindle in ourselves and in one another. Together, we found peace, inner peace. We found strength. We found hope and promise for the future.
Over the course of the last 16 months, I've learned so much from them, and through them, about the world, about life, about human nature, especially about myself, my own temperament, my pride, my frailties, and shortcomings. It has been such a daunting and yet surprising and enlightening experience for me that I'm certain that no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I will be sharing myself and my life experience with those around me and in my community.
Your Honor, at this time, my heart is filled with gratitude. I'm thankful to the Almighty for not forsaking me, for guiding me and leading me through this very difficult and profound experience of a lifetime. I'm also very thankful to my family and also thankful to faithful friends for binding with me, for their steadfastness, and supporting me with encouragement. I'm looking forward every day to my coming back home to them.
I'm thankful to the Court and to members of the jury for your time, your effort and consideration. I respect your judgment and decisions.
And I'm thankful to the officers and inmates at MCC for keeping me safe, for keeping me educated, and company, and especially the MCC education department for squeezing from their already tight budget a small provision to procure a few musical instruments, including a violin. The violin has brought music back to my life and to the life of many at the MCC.
Lastly, I would like to thank the American people for taking care of me for the last 16 months. So, to all of you, a very sincere gratitude from the bottom of my heart, and I thank you all very, very much indeed.
Also, my mother, who will be 93 years old this summer, has always reminded me that to convey gratitude in the most sincere way, a Chinese gentleman should take a bow. Your Honor, please accept this token of my respect, my gratitude, and my appreciation.