Born in Hong Kong, Anna came to live in Northern Ireland in 1974. Initially, she worked for the BBC in Belfast as a secretary and a freelance contributor for the Chinese Service. After qualifying in social work in the University of Ulster, she worked in social services and Barnardos before becoming the director of the Chinese Welfare Association in 1997. She was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007 and retired in 2016. The Blackstaff Press published her autobiography in October 2016. Anna was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2018.