Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fu Ping's Reuter Interview with Sir Harold Evans

On January 15, 2013, Fu Ping had an interview with Reuters Editor-at-Large Sir Harold Evans, titled as "Ping Fu's Dramatic Journey from Capativity to Computer Entrepreneur". In this interview, Fu Ping stated,

  1. She was working in factories as a child, building radios and speedometers.
  2. She saw baby girls being killed "with my bare eyes". In the video, there is a priceless shot of Evans' shocked and disbelieving face.
  3. She did not even know her thesis was picked up and put in the newspaper
  4. [She] looked to different countries for a place to study
  5. The famous three English words are "hello", "thank you", and "help"
The interview, which appears to have been edited, can be viewed here. Below is a partial transcript:
Evans: Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a little girl in a beautiful house with a cortyard and a garden where she chased dragonflies around. It's a lovely family and she was very, very happy. On her eighth birthday, a beautiful birthday cake was given with a picture of a garden on it. She blew up the candles and made a wish. The wish was she could fly like the dragonflies in the garden. But she didn't blow up all the candles. Great darkness descended on the land. Cruel people took her away and kept her in captivity  Then, she escaped. This is the story of Ping Fu, who is now here with us in the Reuters studio in New York. Congratulations on this book. The title is Bend, not Break, a Life in Two Worlds. Two worlds are of course China and the United States. Take us back to the beginning of the fairy story and bring us into the real life. It was 1966 and you are... 
Fu: I was in Shanghai at the dawn of the Cultural Revolution. 
Evans: What's the first thing you know about this cataclysmic change which is coming to China? 
Fu: First I noticed things going strange because there are a lot of liters in our land and my German neighbor disappeared  One day, I heard this loud sound with boots marching into my house and I thought somebody is going to come into my house to make trouble. I knew there was chaos around the neighborhood. Little did I know that they were coming for me. 
Evans: They were looking for you? But you were only 8 years of age? 
Fu: I was only 8 years. I was in my grandfather, father's library. Then I heard my Shanghai Mom said, "She is so little." I stick my head out. I heard they are coming as Red Guards. They are teenagers, with Mao's green uniform with a little red star on their hat. They say, "She is there." I ran back to the library but it only took seconds for them to come up to the library. 
Title Display: Ping Fu's parents had sent her to live with relatives in Shanghai. During the cultural Revolution, moving around the country became illegal. Ping was taken away.
Fu: They took me away from the only home I knew. In a single day I lost both set of parents and I became a surrogate mother to my sister. 
Evans: How old was your sister, you say? She was 4 and you were 8? 
Fu: Yes. 
Evans: What were you doing everyday?  
Fu: First I went to the factory to peel off plastic parts -- I don't know what they are. Then I got older, I built radios, speedometers. 
Evans: You built radios in a factory? 
Title Display: Ping Fu and her sister spent the next decade in a re-education camp. They were starved and regularly beaten. 
Evans: Fast forward as you were. Deng Xiaoping comes in, the Cultural Revolution is finished. What happens then, in terms of getting on with life? You are now 18, I think, when the Cultural Revolution ends. What happened? 
Fu: I studied for a whole year. I heard the rumors of universities are gong to open again. I was known as the girl whose lights never turned off. I passed the national exam and I got in. 
Evans: So now you are studying Chinese literature and you enjoyed it. And that takes you to the countryside for some reason. You are writing a thesis. What happened? What did you see in the countryside? 
Fu: It was at the peak of China's one-child policy. Every couple can only have one child. At that time, China was still 90% agriculture. The farmers want sons. So I heard there was wide-spread killing of baby girls.  
Evans: You saw babies are being killed? 
Fu: I saw it with my bare eyes. I saw babies are being tossed into river with their embryonic cords still fresh. I saw babies being put in the plastic bags and tossed into garbage. 
Evans: By the parents? 
Fu: By the parents or by the neighborhood leaders. 
Evans: That is an unspeakable cruelty. 
Fu: Unimaginable. 
Title Display: Ping Fu wrote her thesis about the atrocities, attracting global media attention. 
Evans: So the international media were told about the fact that babies are being killed. What was that you are first aware of the fact that you, about 20 or 21 years old, had created an international firestorm? 
Fu: I did not know that, 'cause we didn't have access to international newspaper. I did not even know my thesis was picked up and put in newspaper. I don't read newspaper every day. I was just walking in the college to go to a class and somebody come behind my back and put a sack over me and said, "Don't scream", and took me away from the campus. 
Evans: Where were you taken to? 
Fu: I was taken to this Jeep or car. I think it's a Jeep because I can feel the wind. We drove hours. I was taken to this prison outside of Nanjing and put into this windowless room. No lights, no window, no bed and smells like ammonia. 
Title Display: After three days in captivity, Ping Fu was released but told she must leave China and never return. 
Fu: And so we looked to different countries for a place I can study and US just happened to be the first one giving me a visa. 
Evans: Did you need a visa to get into US? 
Fu: I need a visa. Back then in 84 it was very easy. We applied in 83, it was very easy. 
Evans: So how could you afford to come to the United States? 
Fu: My mother used up all her savings to buy me a ticket. 
Title Display: Ping Fu arrived in teh U.S. with just $80 to her name. 
Evans: How much English did you speak? 
Fu: I spoke only three words. I tried to learn more but by the time I arrived I only remember three words. 
Evans: What was ... 
Fu: Hello, thank you, and help.

[More conversations on Geomagic...]

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