Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fang Zhouzi: The Double Faced Political Correctness of New York Times in Ping Fu Affair

The following post was published by Fang Zhouzi in his Chinese blog on February 25 and translated into English by xgz. It's a direct response to the two articles by Didi Kirsten Tatlow.

The International Herald Tribune (the Global Edition of The New York Times) reporter Didi Kirsten Tatlow wrote two articles on the Ping Fu affair. One was published on the International Herald Tribune (, the other was posted on the New York Times blog ( The contrast between these two articles is like they were written by two different people. In the blog post, Tatlow did some investigation, which allowed readers to see how Ping Fu flip-flopped and twisted herself into a pretzel. However, in the newspaper article, Tatlow flip-flopped herself on behalf of Ping Fu, adopting the tactic of Ping Fu’s team to blame the so-called fallibility of memory, and further using the lack of openness of information about China as an excuse to claim that one cannot prove whether Ping Fu is lying. No wonder the co-author of Ping Fu’s memoir MeiMei Fox recommended the newspaper article on Twitter while ignoring the blog post. Ping Fu’s team may be under the impression that even if her memoir is full of errors, as long as one cannot prove that Ping Fu is intentionally lying, they win. 
In my previous article "Fu Ping’s Incredible American Story" I expressed hope that someone would go to the Albuquerque Police Department to check whether there was any record about Ping Fu being kidnapped by a Vietnamese Chinese. I was certain that no such record existed, because the story of being kidnapped from the airport by a Vietnamese Chinese to babysit for him for three days was a total fabrication. The most valuable point in Tatlow’s blog post, was that she checked with the Albuquerque Police Department. And, just as I expected, Albuquerque Police Department had no record of such a case. Ping Fu contended that she did not press charges against the Vietnamese Chinese. "I don’t know how they keep records," as if there would not be a police record simply if she did not press charges. Anyone with a little bit of knowledge of the US would know that this is impossible. First of all, kidnapping is a felony. Even if Ping Fu as the victim did not cooperate with the police, the police would not automatically close the case. Secondly, even if they closed the case, there would still be the records of the 911 call, the sending of the officers, and the police interview. Furthermore, this case involved three abandoned children. The police had to find social services to deal with the children, which means a lot of paperworks. There had to be a big paper trail. The fact that no record exists only means that the case never happened. Ping Fu made up the whole thing. 
Ping Fu blamed inconsistencies in interviews of her and in her memoir on memory lapses, and also blamed them on American reporters misunderstanding her meaning and their undisciplined writing. I predicted that Ping Fu would next make her co-author MeiMei Fox a scapegoat. Sure enough, Ping Fu blamed some mistakes in her memoir on poor communication with Fox, on exaggerations by Fox, on Fox’s ignorance in Chinese geography, and on Fox using incorrect material found on the internet - inadvertently revealing that the so-called memoir was not based entirely on Ping Fu’s own memory. Ping Fu even complained that Fox ignored her requests to correct mistakes. I gave an example of Ping Fu’s reckless fabrication in a previous article "A Habitual Liar Ping Fu”: Ping Fu said in her memoir that after China began to implement the one-child policy in 1982, all female students at Suzhou University were checked every month by university officials, who inserted their fingers into the vaginas of the students to check for menstrual blood. Now Ping Fu is changing the story to that what she meant was that the university officials asked the students to put their own finger into the vagina to check their menstrual blood, that Fox made a mistake, and that she tried to correct it three times to no avail. 
Even conceding that Ping Fu originally meant to say that the officials asked the students check their own menstrual blood for them to see, does that make this story believable? Not at all. First, there were thousands of female students at Suzhou University at the time, but no one ever came out and said there had been such a bizarre thing. On the contrary, several female students who studied at Suzhou University at that time came out and said such humiliating things never happened. Second, the family planning policy would have been targeted at married women,  not at female students in college, almost all of whom were unmarried in the early 1980’s. Checking for unmarried pregnancy at that time would not have been because of family planning. Unmarried girls who got pregnant would be punished for their immoral behavior, not for violating family planning policy. Third, to detect unmarried pregnancy, checking menstruation would be both laborious and inaccurate. Because there were many female students and their menstrual periods were not synchronous, the students needed to be checked everyday. Even if a female student did not have her period, it didn’t necessarily mean that she was pregnant. Menstrual irregularity is quite common. If the university’s purpose for detecting pregnancy was not to provide prenatal care as soon as possible, but to force abortion, then why did they need to know so early? Why not wait until there would be obvious signs of pregnancy? How compromised must one’s intelligence be to believe a story of checking for menstrual blood (either by self-fingering or fingering by others)? And how perverse must the storyteller be to concoct such a story? 
After the Guardian reported that Professor Cheng Yinghong, who attended the same university with Ping Fu, never heard of the student publication Red Maple edited by Ping Fu, she now changed her story to say that she remembered wrong, and that she was involved in editing a student publication called Hook of Wu (Tatlow incorrectly translated it as No Hook). Ping Fu spent considerable lengths in her book to describe how while in college she organized a student club called Red Maple (also attached a photo of club members), and acted as the chief editor of (now she changed to "participated in editing") a student publication named Red Maple, and how famous this publication was both within and outside the campus. In 1979 student representatives who attended a meeting of college student publishers each held a copy of Red Maple, and went to meet Deng Xiaoping, who took a look at the magazine, which had an anti-party article that attracted his attention, and therefore the chief editor Ping Fu suffered the consequences... Now Ping Fu is telling us that she remembered incorrectly the name of this famous publication. Ping Fu claimed that this is an example “that shows everyone’s memory can be wrong". But I do not believe that someone would misremember the name of their own college publication which they acted as a chief editor. Moreover the names Hook of Wu and Red Maple are neither similar in pronunciation nor in meaning. How could one misremember Hook of Wu as non-existent Red Maple? 
Ping Fu also changed her story about what magazine the representatives to the 1979 meeting of the national college publishers were holding. It was not Red Maple, but This Generation instead. I have to point out that Ping Fu “remembered incorrectly" again. This Generation was a joint publication published after the meeting, and was printed by Wuhan University. Jiangsu Teachers College, where Ping Fu was a student, took no part in it. In fact, Jiangsu Teachers College sent no representative to the meeting. This Generation had only one issue. Its publication license was revoked because of two poems, rather than an "anti-party" article titled “A Confession of a Communist Party Member” as claimed by Ping Fu. There was no article with that title in the only issue of This Generation. 
Sing Tao Daily said that Ping Fu obtained her green card through political asylum when it reported Ping Fu’s "Outstanding American by Choice” award, and people suspected that her initial motive for fabricating her persecution in China was to apply for political asylum. Ping Fu said that she obtained the green card by marrying a U.S. citizen: September 1, 1986, she married a U.S. citizen in California and divorced three years later. She said that her reason for not mentioning this marriage before was to protect this American. Protecting from what? Did she already foresee that her memoir would be criticized and lies exposed? The real reason for hiding this marriage in all interviews and in her memoir may not be so honorable. Searching marriage registration records one finds that someone named Ping Fu and Richard Lynn Ewald married on September 10, 1986, not in California, but in Las Vegas, Nevada - a marriage and divorce paradise. The procedure there is extremely simple. In U.S. movies, television shows, and literature, going to Las Vegas to get married is often depicted as not being serious about it. This marriage after she was less than two years in the US seemed almost non-existent for Ping Fu, and her memoir reflects it: 
“I was almost thirty years old and had no personal life. It had been more than 5 years since I'd landed in the United States, yet I still wondered, what was an American life exactly? I had much to learn and to experience if I wanted to make this country my home.... what finally transformed my personal life was not a class I took or a book I read. It was something totally unplanned and unrelated to these well-intentioned, purposeful efforts to make myself ‘fit in’: a romance. " 
Ping Fu was already married with the American Richard Lynn Ewald for two years when she was 30 years old. Yet she complained about having no personal life, not knowing what American life was like, and still waiting for a romance. It took a romance with an Austrian (her second husband) for her to integrate into the American society. This means that the marriage between her and Richard Lynn Ewald was in name only; it had nothing to do with love, but had everything to do with the green card. To prevent fraudulent green card applications through sham marriages with American citizens, U.S. immigration law only approves a temporary green card initially for someone who marries an American. The official green card can be applied after two years of marriage. And it takes a few months more for the official green card to be approved. They can divorce as soon as the official green card is approved. So this type of green card marriage often lasts only three years. 
Tatlow said in her article on the International Herald Tribune that although some of Ping Fu’s experiences sounded weird, they could still be true. The article used as an example what Ping Fu described as her research in infanticide for her thesis which angered the government and led to her imprisonment for three days through a kidnapping carried out by police. Tatlow provided two "evidence": 
One "evidence" was from Ping Fu who produced a letter sent by one of her classmates in May 1982. The letter mentioned that Ping Fu suddenly left college without graduating, and the reason given by the school was that Ping Fu suffered a nervous breakdown due to breakup of a relationship. Ping Fu claimed that it was a politically motivated cover-up, and that the real reason was because she wrote an article on infanticide in rural areas due to the one-child policy which after being picked up by the newspapers, created an international outcry and caused her trouble with the authority. 
This story can not withstand scrutiny. First the timing was wrong. The letter was written in May 1982. But according to Ping Fu’s memoir, she was detained for her thesis in the fall of 1982. Earlier this month, in a reply to a Forbes reporter's question her publicist also "confirmed” that Ping Fu "left school in the fall of 1982 after being held by the government." So what was mentioned in the letter in May about her suddenly leaving school could not have been about her detention. Second, Ping Fu’s memoir also mentioned "leaving school due to nervous breakdown before graduation," but it was an excuse made up by her mother and her to avoid being assigned a job outside the city, rather than a political cover-up by the school. 
The other "evidence" provided by Tatlow was a New York Times report on April 11, 1983 which mentioned a March 3, 1983 People's Daily report saying that "the phenomena of butchering, drowning and leaving to die female infants and maltreating women who have given birth to female infants have been very serious." I do not know why Tatlow considered this as evidence. The People's Daily report was on March 3, 1983, half a year after Ping Fu’s alleged imprisonment in late fall of 1982. The title of the report was "Comrade Leader of the All China Women's Federation Responds to a Letter from 15 Women in Anhui Province, Calls on all Sectors of Society to Fight against Patriarchal Thinking and Behavior." It was a response to a letter to the editor published by the newspaper on February 23 titled "We Demand a Second Liberation" which did not contain anything about female infanticide. The newspaper report only mentioned in passing that “in the past two years, the All China Women's Federation has received many materials and letters from various places that reported the shocking phenomena of drowning and abandoning female infants and maltreating women who have given birth to female infants. This has become a serious social problem" (the People's Daily article did not use the word “butchering", which was arbitrarily added by the New York Times). Therefore, neither the time of the report nor its content were in any way connected to the so-called thesis by Ping Fu. 
Ping Fu claimed that her thesis was the first report of the phenomenon of female infanticide caused by the implementation of the one-child policy in China, and that because of the UN sanctions, the Chinese government placed the blame on her. 
In fact, prior to the time that Ping Fu claimed to have finished her thesis (1982), there were already official Chinese newspaper reports on female infanticides due to the implementation of the one-child policy, and these reports were republished by the US media: According to 1981 Executive Intelligence Reviews, China’s Population Research Quarterly and the South China Daily both reported that the one-child policy had led to the crime of infanticide (EIR Volume 8, Number 12, March 24, 1981, page 49, Volume 8, Number 13, March 31, 1981, page 54, and EIR Volume 8, Number 21, May 26, 1981, page 50). If the Chinese government wanted to blame someone, the last person they could blame was Ping Fu. Since both before and after Ping Fu’s thesis was completed, China's newspapers had been reporting infanticides, it was clearly not a sensitive topic. Why would the government grab Ping Fu and deport her? 
Tatlow claimed that before China opens all its files and allows an open debate, there would be no way to know whether Ping Fu was telling the truth. 
Are the US archives open enough? Is public debate allowed in the US? The Albuquerque police could not find any record of Ping Fu’s kidnapping. But it took only one sentence "I don’t know how they keep records" from Ping Fu to shut Tatlow up, even though Tatlow knew full well whether the Albuquerque police should have the records, and whether Ping Fu was lying about this. 
In fact, Ping Fu’s incredible China stories did not involve any state secrets, and can be exposed as lies from publicly available information. There was no need to wait for "opening files and allowing public debates" in the distant future. One should not blame everything on China not being open and free, although doing this is very politically correct. Even worse is to ignore the basic facts right in front of one’s own eyes, just for the sake of being politically correct, which is often the tendency of some Western journalists. 
At the least, even if it is difficult to verify the truthfulness of every old story told by Ping Fu, by just looking at how she told new lies about what just happened, one can tell that she is a habitual liar without any credibility. Just a few days earlier she told the Guardian that her critics should not be called a smear campaign, now she complained to Tatlow that she was being smeared. And her complaints were filled with lies: "They tried to get my daughter’s name from the Internet"- in fact, her daughter's name is on the first page of her memoir. "They sent people to Shanghai and surrounded my house, and to Nanjing to harass my neighbors” - I reposted the photo of the mansion that Ping Fu claimed was her Shanghai home, and asked people to locate it to see if it was real. Although several people looked in Shanghai, no one was able to locate this house. How could anyone have surrounded the house? There were indeed someone who went to ask questions about Ping Fu to her Nanjing neighbors, but the neighbors did not think it was harassment. Instead they testified that Ping Fu was lying. She said that her second exhusband, Herbert Edelsbrunner, received a lot of "hate mails"- What I saw was that people who criticized Ping Fu expressed sympathy to Edelsbrunner, feeling that the credit due him was stolen by Ping Fu. Who would send him "hate mails "? Perhaps they were from Ping Fu supporters? 
Recently Ping Fu was interviewed by a local media, News & Observer (, which is located at the same place as her own company. In this interview she continued to lie, saying that she had been the target of internet terrorist attacks, saying that the smear campaign against her started the day after the New York Times report about the Chinese hacker army - in fact, a quick check can show that the New York Times report was later; saying that I launched a smear campaign, and that in the second or third article, I had said, "I do not care whether she is the victim (of the smear campaign), my target is the Western media" - Where did I ever say that? 
Tatlow, do you believe that you also need to politically correctly wait for China to open its files and allow public debates to decide whether Ping Fu lied about what just happened?
In 1996, Ping Fu published a memoir in China, Drifting Bottles - American Sketches (Hubei Children Publishing House), authored entirely by herself. In the Chinese memoir, what Ping Fu described about her life in China and in the United States, are exactly the opposite of what she described in her English memoir. This further proves that we are right to question her: She is a liar. In future articles, I will compare Ping Fu’s Chinese and English memoirs. I also hope that Tatlow can go to the National Library in Beijing to borrow a copy of Drifting Bottles - American Sketches, read it (Tatlow said she could read and write Chinese), and write a follow-up report - this book is publicly available now, you do not need to wait for the future.

  《国际先驱论坛报》(《纽约时报》的国际版)记者Didi Kirsten Tatlow写了两篇关于傅苹事件的文章,一篇登在《国际先驱论坛报》上( ),一篇登在该报的博客上( )。对比这两篇文章,几乎就像是两个人写的。在博客文章中,Tatlow做了一些调查,让我们得以听到傅苹是如何再次改变说辞进行狡辩的,然而在报纸文章中,Tatlow却自己为傅苹狡辩起来,采纳了傅苹团队所谓记忆错误的说法,以中国信息不公开为由声称无法证明傅苹是不是在说假话。难怪傅苹自传的共同作者MeiMei Fox在推特上推荐这篇报纸文章却无视那篇博客文章,在傅苹团队的人看来,即便傅苹回忆录充满了错误,只要不能证明傅苹是有意说谎,就是胜利。 
  傅苹对自己在采访、回忆录中的错误,除了归咎于记忆错误,还怪罪给美国记者误解了她的意思而乱写。我曾指出傅苹接下来会把共同作者MeiMei Fox当替罪羊。果不其然,傅苹将其回忆录中的一些错误怪罪给Fox与她交流不善、用词夸张、不懂中国地理和只是在互联网上找不正确的资料来用——无意中透露了这本所谓回忆录并非完全根据傅苹的回忆,而是从网上找资料拼凑而成。傅苹甚至埋怨Fox不按她的要求进行改正。我在《习惯性说谎者傅苹》中举了一个傅苹回忆录胡编乱造的例子:傅苹在其书中说,1982年中国开始实行一胎化政策后,苏州大学的全体女生每个月都要被大学官员把手指插入阴道检查有没有经血。现在傅苹改口说,她本来说的是大学官员要求女生自己把手指插入阴道检查有没有经血,Fox写错了,她改正了三次都没有改过来。 
  在《卫报》报道当时与傅苹同校同系的程映虹教授从未听说过傅苹主编的学生刊物《红枫》后,傅苹现在改口说,她记错了,她大学时参与编辑的学生刊物叫做《吴钩》(Tatlow错误地把它翻译成"No Hook"——《无钩》)。傅苹在书中花了相当长的篇幅来介绍她如何在大学期间组织一个叫红枫的学生社团(还附了一张社团成员合影),主编(现在改口是“参与编辑”)一份叫《红枫》的学生刊物,这份刊物当时如何在校内外闻名,1979年参加全国大学生刊物会议的代表人手一册《红枫》,拿着它去见邓小平,被邓小平拿去看,上面一篇反党文章引起了邓小平的注意,主编傅苹因此遭殃……现在傅苹告诉我们她记错了这份著名刊物的名字。傅苹声称这是一个“任何人记忆都会出错”的例子,但我不相信会有人连自己在大学时代主编的刊物的名称都会记错。何况《吴钩》和《红枫》不论是读音还是意思都没有任何相似之处,怎么会把《吴钩》记成了不存在的《红枫》? 
  《星岛日报》在去年报道傅苹被评为“杰出归化美国人”时曾说她是靠申请政治避难获得的绿卡,因此人们怀疑她编造如何在中国受迫害的最初动机是为了申请政治避难。现在傅苹说,她是靠和美国公民结婚获得的绿卡:在1986年9月1日她在加州和一个美国公民结婚,三年后离婚。她说她此前之所以对这次婚姻只字不提是为了保护这个美国人。她在保护这个美国人什么呢?难道她已预见到她的回忆录会受到批评、揭露?她在所有的履历、采访和回忆录中隐瞒这段婚姻的真实原因可能并不那么光彩。搜索婚姻登记记录可以知道在1986年9月10日有一个叫Ping Fu的人和Richard Lynn Ewald结婚,但不是在加州,而是在内华达州的拉斯维加斯——那里是结婚和离婚的天堂,手续极其简便,在美国影视、文学作品中,跑到拉斯维加斯结婚往往被当成结婚不严肃的表现。傅苹这段她才到美国两年多就结上的婚姻对她来说就像几乎不存在一样,这是她在回忆录里自己表露出来的: 
  傅苹30岁的时候已与美国人Richard Lynn Ewald结婚了两年,她却还在抱怨自己没有个人生活,不知道什么是美国生活,还在等着来一次罗曼史,与一个奥地利人(她的第二任丈夫)的罗曼史才让她融入了美国社会。这说明她与Richard Lynn Ewald的婚姻名存实亡,与爱情无关,而与绿卡有关。为了防止靠与美国人假结婚骗取绿卡,美国移民法规定与美国人结婚后一开始只能获得临时绿卡,结婚两年后才能申请转为正式绿卡,等正式绿卡批下来又要过几个月,拿到正式绿卡就可以离婚了,所以这种绿卡婚姻往往只持续三年。 
  我不知道为什么Tatlow会把这当成证据。《人民日报》的报道是1983年3月3日,距离傅苹说她被监禁的时间1982年秋晚了半年。该报道标题是《全国妇联负责同志就安徽十五名妇女来信发表谈话 呼吁社会各方面与重男轻女的思想和行为作斗争》,是对2月23日该报刊登的一封反映生女孩的母亲在农村遭到歧视的读者来信《我们要求第二次解放》的回应,来信中并没有涉及溺杀女婴的内容,该报道也只是顺便提了一句“近两年来,全国妇联曾不断收到各地寄来的材料和群众来信,反映当前溺弃女婴和虐待生女婴的妇女的现象十分突出,已成为一个严重的社会问题”(《人民日报》的原文并没有“残杀”一词,那是《纽约时报》擅加的)。所以该报道的时间、内容无论如何与傅苹的所谓论文扯不上关系。 
  实际上,在傅苹声称其完成论文的时间(1982年)之前,中国报刊都已正式报道过实行一胎化政策导致杀女婴现象,而且被美国媒体转载:1981年Executive Intelligence Reviews报道说,中国《人口研究》季刊和《南方日报》都报道一胎化政策导致杀女婴这一犯罪行为 (EIR Volume 8, Number 12, March 24, 1981, page 49, Volume 8, Number 13, March 31, 1981, page 54, and EIR Volume 8, Number 21, May 26, 1981, page 50)。中国政府要怪,怎么也怪不到傅苹。既然在傅苹论文完成的之前和之后,中国的报刊都在报道杀女婴的事,可见这并非敏感话题,怎么可能因此去抓傅苹并把她驱逐出境? 
  退一步说,就算傅苹所说的陈年往事的真实性难以给出确切的答案,那么看看傅苹对刚刚发生的事是如何造谣、说假话的,也可以认定这是个没有信用的习惯性说谎者。她前几天才向《卫报》说她不应该把对她的批评称为抹黑行动,现在又对Tatlow控诉起她是如何遭到了抹黑了,但谎话连篇:“他们试图从网上得到我女儿的名字”——其实她女儿的名字在其自传的第一页上就有;“他们派人到上海包围我的家庭,到南京骚扰我的邻居”——我在网上转了傅苹声称是其上海老家的豪宅照片,请人去找找看那究竟在哪里、有没有这样的豪宅,虽然有多名网友去找过,到现在也还没找着,怎么去包围?的确有人问了傅苹在南京的邻居关于傅苹的事,但是邻居并不觉得是被骚扰,反而作证说傅苹在说谎;她说她的第二任离异丈夫Herbert Edelsbrunner收到了许多“憎恨信件”——我看到的是,批评傅苹的人如果提到Edelsbrunner都是同情他的,觉得他的功劳被傅苹霸占了,谁会去给他寄“憎恨信件”?难道是傅苹的支持者寄的? 
  傅苹近日接受其公司所在地一家媒体News & Observer的公关采访( ),继续造谣,说她遭到了互联网恐怖主义攻击,说对她的抹黑行动是在《纽约时报》报道了中国黑客部队之后的第二天开始的——其实只要稍微查一下就知道《纽约时报》的那篇报道是后来的;说我发动了抹黑行动,说我在第二或第三篇文章里说“我才不在乎她成为(抹黑行动的)受害者,我的目标是西方媒体”——我在哪篇文章里这么说过? 

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