Sunday, March 24, 2013

Broken Fact: Fu Ping's Birthday and the Rape of Nanjing

The Original Story:
In Bent, Not Break, Page 24, Fu Ping describes her birthday and its relation to her birth city, Nanjing:
A dark period in Nanjing's recent history had lent the city a new-found and unwelcome notoriety. In December 1937, the Japanese army occupied Nanjing for six weeks...... When I was nine or ten, I learned that the Rape of Nanjing Memorial Day falls on May 30, my birthday. The coincidence unsettles me to this day, making my birthday both a cause of celebration and an opportunity for grave reflection on humankind's potential for cruelty.
The Debunking:
It is of course odd to have a memorial day in May for an event that happened in December. That's because it is not true. The Rape of Nanjing Memorial Day has always been on December 13, the date in 1937 when the city fell to the Japanese army.

From the way the above paragraph is written, it does not seem to be just a simple typo. But why Fu Ping would make such an obvious mistake is just beyond imagination.

Maybe she will be able to have happier birthdays from now on.

Update (4/22/2013)
On April 18, 2013, Fu Ping addressed this issue in a response to an online comment:

the Nanjing Massacre indeed happened on December 13th. The May 30th Massacre is called 五卅惨案 (又稱五卅大屠殺). I didn't know it is translated as "Nanjing Road Incident", this will be corrected in next print. Thanks Cindy for pointing this out.
The May 30th Massacre referred above happened in 1925 in Shanghai and had nothing to do with the city of Nanjing.

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