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Truth Bent, Credibility Broken – a scathing review of Ping Fu’s book & her actions

The following is a re-posted review (find the original on Amazon.com) of the book “Bend, not Break” by Ping Fu. For those who don’t know the context, this book is an “autobiography” detailing the horrors Ping Fu supposedly faced during the Cultural Revolution (a summary of her side of the story is on Wikipedia). When Chinese netizens started to investigate and voice skepticism about the accuracy of her stories, Ping Fu and her defenders in academia and media labeled these actions “online terrorism”. This is not surprising, given that anyone – especially someone believed to be ethnic Chinese – who supports the Chinese government and the PRC, or simply voices skepticism about western political/ideological dogmas, is immediately labeled as part of the “fifty-cent party” or a “brainwashed fool”. Well, here at Hidden Harmonies, we have some of the most infamous “brainwashed online terrorists” around, so we could hardly let this one go without giving it some proper attention. Enjoy the book review, everyone (for those who do not wish to read such a lengthy review, I’ve bolded some parts of the text to draw attention to the key issues).

Customer Review

157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars We’re Helping Ping Fu to Vindicate Herself out of Human Conscience, February 13, 2013
This review is from: Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds (Hardcover)

We have been helping Ping Fu ALL THE WAY by pointing out the inconsistencies in her memoir, her interviews and her articles, to make her story truly accurate, truthful and inspiring, by asking her to embrace and respond to criticism instead of launching a hate campaign against her critics, and by demanding her to stop abetting her friends and supporters to defend her falsehoods in order to save their credentials, reputations and integrity. ALL WE HAVE BEEN DOING is out of love for the world and of human conscience.

In contrast, what her “damaging friends” have been doing is to encourage her to produce more falsehoods in defense against criticism, by giving her the hallucination of support and by continuing bullying and harassing her critics.

We wish every sick to be cured, every insane to come to sanity, every soul to be saved. We wish Ping Fu and her defenders to embrace truthfulness and renounce falsehood. We wish them well if they do; and we wish them success if they don’t.

Ping Fu’s best policy is honesty, and her best defense is evidence. Although she claims that many of the episodes told in the memoir and a slew of interviews and reports are “personal experience” or “private matter,” that does not prevent her from providing supporting evidence to her claims. Regarding the gang-rape episode, Ping Fu owned up in her “Clarifying the Facts in Bend, Not Break” article published February 1, 2013 in Huffingtonpost:

You claim you were brutally gang-raped. Gang rape doesn’t happen in China.
A: Rape is a very private matter and this definitely happened. I know this was not a hallucination. I have scars. My body was broken.

According to her book, the scars are the result of “more than forty stitches to close the wounds;” it shouldn’t be difficult for Ping Fu to provide the evidence. X-ray pictures of tailbone, likewise, will also be able to proffer scientific evidence to her claim. Rather than wait for the Chinese government to make archives accessible to the general public, the evidence Ping Fu mentioned on her body is more telling, relevant, and straightforward.

We are serious in helping Ping Fu to vindicate herself, to restore her credibility, self-respect, dignity, and integrity, and to rebuild public confidence in a successful entrepreneur. Those who come to defend Ping Fu without calling on her to produce supporting and convincing evidence to substantiate her story are pushing Ping Fu toward self-destruction: what they are doing is morally evil.

Ping Fu’s Desperate Effort to Silence Criticism

Ping Fu now calls her criticism “Internet terrorism.” It is yet another about-face of the prominent entrepreneur and “chief strategist” of a high-tech company who, on February 13, 2013, told The Guardian that “she had been wrong to call the criticism a smear campaign.” On February 1, 2013, Ping Fu labeled the criticism a “smear campaign” against her “personally” and her memoir, the now tanked “Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds.”

Ping Fu’s chopping and changing may be indicative of her flair and dexterity of manipulation. There’s no doubt about the chief strategist’s capability and ingenuity of generating delightful surprises, either by volunteering new versions of her “memory,” “experience,” and “story,” or by disclosing “a first marriage” that was not even mentioned in the memoir, for the protection of “her first husband, an American,” (Does she mean her second husband is not an American so that he is disqualified for her protection?) or by exhibiting capriciousness when confronted with questioning about the veracity and truthfulness of the memoir. This time, however, Ping Fu’s charge is serious.

By denouncing as enemies like terrorists of “Al-Qaeda” and Bin Laden her critics who demanded her provision of evidence to corroborate many different versions of her story and reconcile appalling inconsistencies both in her “emotional memory” memoir and in various interviews, Ping Fu seems pursuing a relentless hate campaign to stir up the indignation and hatred of the American people whose memories of the “911 terrorist attack” remain fresh.

In all conscience, Ping Fu appears correct in naming the hate war she and her followers have been waging against her critics: Internet terrorism. They first denounced her critics “Chinese nationalists” (as did, e.g., Princeton Ph.D. Prof. Erica Brindley), then condemned them as “a mob” (as did, e.g., Sir Harold Evans), and now branded them “Internet terrorism,” all in a concerted and continued effort to threaten, intimidate, suppress and silence dissenting voices.

Take “Lin,” a reviewer on Amazon, as an example. When the mother of two first posted her 1-star review on Amazon questioning the truthfulness of Ping Fu’s memoir on January 22, 2013, Ping Fu called the feedback “constructive” and sought “a direct dialog” with Lin. After this solicitation for private communication was rightly rejected by Lin, who nevertheless urged Ping Fu to respond publicly, and pointed out her fault in attempting to use China’s 2007 rape data to support her 1968 gang-rape story, Lin was called “(m)ale, female, or hermaphrodite” by Sir Harold Evans, an accomplished journalist and staunch defender of Ping Fu. Faced with an undeterred and unyielding Lin and a growing number of challengers, Ping Fu orchestrated the hate campaign in many news media outlets and instigated her followers to report “abuse” to Amazon to have Lin silenced. Ping Fu, with her power, influence, and manipulative audacity as an “entrepreneur of the year” who is on the president’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, did achieve a temporary success – Lin’s series of reviews was removed from Amazon on February 16, 2013.

Admittedly, Ping Fu is a brilliant “chief strategist”. On the one side, she, and her followers, have been relentless and ruthless in terrorizing and silencing her challengers like Lin; on the other, she plays victim of “Internet terrorism” when confronted with more and more questions about her memoir and interviews riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, and logical absurdities.

It was not until February 21 that Amazon rectified its decision and re-instituted Lin’s series of reviews, no matter whether it is out of conscience, or business interest, or professionalism. “If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way,” — what Emile Zola wrote a century ago still rings true.

Branding the critics “Internet terrorism” appears to be a smart but desperate move by “chief strategist” Ping Fu. However ingenious your strategies may be, nevertheless, honesty is always the best policy, not only for a “chief strategist” entrepreneur, but also for any human being. By resiliently bending the truth, you are doomed to break your own, and your defenders’, credibility and destroy your own, and your defenders’, life.

Ping Fu Is Destroying Ms MeiMei Fox

In her latest move, Ping Fu is not only betraying co-author, Ms. MeiMei Fox, but also destroying her reputation as a truthful and trustworthy ghost writer, of the so-called memoir “Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds.”

Ms. Fox “wrote it wrong,” she was quoted as saying by Didi Kirsten Tatlow of the International Herald Tribune, “I corrected it three times but it didn’t get correct.” Apparently, in Ping Fu’s eyes Ms. Fox is the one to blame for many of “the result of exaggeration.” When it comes to the first author of the book, Ping Fu herself, she is an innocent target, and thus a victim, of a “smear campaign” launched by “Chinese nationalists” for “reasons she doesn’t really understand.”

A little more than two months ago, Ms. Fox, in her promotion piece “An Inspirational True Story of Resilience and the American Dream,” was boasting her “working with Ping… has been the best experience of my entire publishing career” and Ping Fu is “a living embodiment of my mantra, “Fear Less, Love More.” Too bad that it’s Ms. Fox that “wrote it wrong” in the first place and then stuck to what was wrong despite Ping Fu’s correction “three times.” How come the “best experience of my entire publishing career” turns into incriminating Ping Fu through inaccuracies and even falsehoods in a memoir , which otherwise would be full of authentic, true stories of Ping Fu’s life and “emotional memory”? And why did Ms. Fox do this to Ping Fu? Out of jealousy? Not likely, since Ms. Fox admits that “(a)bove all, Ping Fu is one of the most generous, compassionate, and wise people I’ve ever had the honor to know”. Non-professionalism? Probably, since, according to Ping Fu, Ms. Fox may have “just made some searches on the Internet that maybe weren’t correct.” Ignorance? Definitely, since, according to Ping Fu again, Ms. Fox “doesn’t know China’s geography.”

To be fair, in spite of being pinpointed by Ping Fu as the ONLY culprit of the inaccuracies and falsehoods in their joint venture, Ms. Fox is not without merits when she describes Ping Fu as an incarnate of “fear less.” Indeed, Ping Fu is “FEARLESS” in volunteering different versions of her “true” stories, in different interviews, different locations, and different times. Her latest version of “period police” is that it was not the university authorities’ finger that invaded girl students’ body, but “their own finger.” Well, how many versions are still in store for us, the “mob” as condemned by His Honorable Sir Harold Evans, we never know. But as long as you look to Ping Fu for delightful surprises, it seems you will never get disappointed.

Indeed, His Honorable Sir Harold Evans made a valid observation in his masterpiece “The Persecution of Ping Fu”: “The campaign has morphed into a vindictive effort to destroy her life, to have her honors and awards withdrawn, the pending sale of Geomagic disrupted” – the campaign, the hate campaign kicked off and orchestrated by Ping Fu, against legitimate challengers to the truthfulness of her “autobiography”, appears to be moving in this direction, thanks to Ping Fu and her like. His Honorable Sir Harold Evans, without doubt, is an outstanding contributor to, and active promoter of, this effort.

What His Honorable Sir Harold Evans may fail to observe is that Ping Fu is not only destroying herself, with more and new versions of her “true” story, but also pulling down her collaborators, friends, supporters, and defenders with her. Take His Honorable Sir Harold Evans as an example. How much hate does it take a person with basic human decency to call “Lin”, a mother of two who was among the first to come out to question Ping Fu’s story, “male, female, or hermaphrodite”?

After all, as you sow so shall you reap. It’s fair enough, isn’t it?

Truth Bent, Credibility Broken

We finally see some serious journalism by Western media: The Guardian published a balanced investigative story on Wednesday with the title “Ping Fu’s childhood tales of China’s Cultural Revolution spark controversy,” quoting experts in various fields to challenge the truthfulness and validity of Ping Fu’s stories in “Bend, Not Break.” […]

Admittedly, most of the issues The Guardian raised to Ping Fu were not new – they were exactly the same questions brought forward by Chinese readers and reviewers on the Internet (mostly Chinese living in North America), or the “mob,” to use Sir Harold Evens’ parlance. Although the evidence unfolded at present is inconclusive, people are at least able to arrive at their own judgments by reading a well balanced, fact-seeking piece of serious journalism that had not been seen since the controversy over Ping Fu’s memoir broke out weeks ago.

Once again we saw Ping Fu abused the trust of, and betrayed, her friends, believers, supporters and defenders. This time, she admitted to The Guardian that “she had been wrong to call the criticism a smear campaign…” an allegation she put forward on Feb. 1. We still have vivid memory of her putting blames on her ghost writer, interviewers, and reporters for “inaccuracies” in the reports and the autobiography. It appears what Ping Fu, and her friends, supporters and defenders, have been doing are not honest and sincere moves in “crisis management” or “damage control,” but more lies, libels, accusations and threats. There’s no one else who wants to destroy Ping Fu’s life; it’s Ping Fu herself that is destroying her life, by lies, more lies, and repeated lies. She claimed that she was “sad, but not broken,” but it’s for sure that she will eventually harvest broken credibility and bankrupt integrity if she continues the path of sowing the seeds of falsehood. It’s just a matter of time.

This may also mark the beginning of a nightmare for her vehement supporters and defenders who had put their reputation, credentials, and integrity on the line to vouch for the authenticity of Ping Fu’s story, like “Princeton Ph.D.” Prof. Erica Brindley; to brand truth-seeking Chinese challengers as “Chinese nationalists” or simply “a mob”, like “Princeton Ph.D.” Prof. Erica Brindley and His Honorable Sir Harold Evans; or to threaten, harass and intimidate, like Van Harris at Amazon, to name just a few. Hopefully your acts will not be counter-productive and you will never have to taste the bitterness of betrayal by your beloved friend — Ping Fu.

  1. March 1st, 2013 at 07:44 | #1

    When I first heard about Ping Fu, it was on my way home after work on NPR’s Market Place. The piece was titled by Market Place as “Ping Fu on entrepreneurship and the resilience of the human spirit.”


    Thx Mr. Unknown for bringing this to light. So, yeah, now I get it. Why “resilience of the human spirit?” Of course, the narrative was supposed to be the resilience against a brutal China. A China that was cold and evil enough to be against the human spirit.

    I remember listening to Ping Fu’s story thinking, wow, what a woman!

    What a steamy pile of crap.

    Don’t hold your breath NPR running a follow-up to their original report.

  2. March 1st, 2013 at 07:49 | #2

    Jesse Ventura makes the same point in the video below – that America has dominant narratives, and anyone challenging those will get attacked by the media or completely ignored. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gGsmvv44eQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  3. Charles Liu
    March 1st, 2013 at 16:34 | #3

    Time and again, we’ve seen our supposedly objective US/Western media espousing the “official narrative” on China. This is another angle to the same attack; Fu’s Mike Daisey-esq story is an affirmation of the dominate view therefore should be lauded and not questioned.

    BTW, despite of the media’s attempt to twist this into an attack by mainland China, a lot of the people who spoke out were Chinese-Americans. Some of the reviewers on Amazon even started posting the US city they are in, in response to the media smearing of them.

  4. N.M.Cheung
    March 2nd, 2013 at 07:22 | #4

    Interesting article and unsurprising. For as other books on GLF and CR any attack on China by so called eyewitnesses and survivors are embraced by the West as truth and accepted uncritically, while any questioning of their veracity are attacked as deniers and barred from discussion from those champions of transparency and freedom. As the reviewer Lin on Amazon was no exception, usually main stream Western Media will not publish any contrary letters or opinions. Even internet blogs will bar you if you attacked too vigorously. Irony for those champions of freedom criticizing China for censorship while doing the same. Thanks for site like this one which allow us a chance to vent our feelings.

  5. March 2nd, 2013 at 11:02 | #5

    The comment section on Amazon can pretty much be summed up by this review:

    By Lenny
    This review is from: Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds (Hardcover)
    Conversation between a 1-star reviewer and a 5-star reviewer on “Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds” by Ping Fu and Meimei Fox.

    1-star: Some of Ping Fu’s stories told in her book don’t seem to be true.
    5-star: It is a very inspiring book!

    1-star: Some of Ping Fu’s stories are not true and my doubts are supported by the evidence provided by many reviewers.
    5-star: She is a courageous woman!

    1-star: There are discrepancies between the book and her interviews with different media outlets.
    5-star: Ping Fu’s book is honest and fascinating.

    1-star: Ping Fu claims that she became a factory worker in China when she was 10 years old, but recently she made contradictory statement by saying “I also did not say I was a factory worker.”
    5-star: You are jealous of her success and fame.

    1-star: Ping Fu has admitted that the description of Red Guards killing a teacher by tying the victim to four horses for dismembering during the Cultural Revolution was an “emotional memory” and probably wrong.
    5-star: I truly enjoyed reading her book and will give it to my children to read.

    1-star: Many reviewers had a similar life experience to that of Ping Fu’s in China but they do not believe many of her claims.
    5-star: An excellent book!

    1-star: You need to come up with solid evidence to prove those doubts on Ping Fu are groundless and wrong. You are not doing a very good job in defending her.
    5-star: You must have been hired by the Chinese government to carry out this smear campaign against her.

    1-star: As a friend of Ping Fu’s, is it possible that you might have a bias?
    5-star: “Haven’t you got an iPad to make or something?” “I will leave you all bending and not breaking the english language.”

    1-star: Many reviewers think Ping Fu has knowingly made up sensational stories for her personal gain, and they think she is a liar.
    5-star: Free speech must triumph!

  6. Zack
    March 6th, 2013 at 16:16 | #6

    so what we have here is a mercenary opportunist ie a whore selling out her own country and people for a taste of the good life and money.

    Reminds me of those old people who’re paid by the falun dafa/NED to go around spreading their propaganda and despicable images of torture to children. Hope it was worth it for Ping Fu; she’s going to have a tough time finding business in China for the long and foreseeable future.

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