According to this article, Fu Ping disclosed for the first time that she had an earlier marriage which was never mentioned in either Bend, not Break or her earlier memoir Drifting Bottle. She also blamed her coauthor Meimei Fox for some of the "errors" in her memoir.
Cindy Hao, who was credited as a contributor to this article, also contacted the Albuquerque Police Department's Records Office and got an affirmative answer that there had been no records on Fu Ping's alleged kidnapping incident.
Did Ping Fu, a prominent Chinese-American businesswoman and author of a recent memoir, “Bend, not Break,” make up her horrible experiences during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution in order to gain United States citizenship? Did they help her become an American by claiming political asylum?
That’s what her critics, many of them fellow Chinese-Americans, say. It’s an accusation that can stick. As a recent New York Times investigation showed, claiming persecution has spawned an immigration industry involving lawyers prepping clients to make false asylum claims.
As I write in my Letter from China this week, Ms. Fu is being accused of making up a lot of things in her memoir. She’s also a successful entrepreneur: the U.S. government honored Ms. Fu, the founder of the software company Geomagic (in the process of being sold to 3D Systems), with a “2012 Outstanding American by Choice” award.
Ms. Fu is on the board of the White House’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and is a member of the National Council on Women in Technology, according to the Web site of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Ms. Fu, who says in her memoir she was “quietly deported” to the U.S. in 1984 for writing about female infanticide while still a college student, denies the accusations. But until now she hadn’t explained in public how she became an American.
In an interview with the International Herald Tribune, she said, apparently for the first time, the reason she kept quiet was she was trying to protect her first husband, an American, whom she does not mention in her memoir. The marriage took place while she was living in California, she said.
“I had a first marriage and that’s how I got my green card,” she said by telephone. She married on Sept. 1, 1986 and divorced three years later. Until now she had kept silent because of a “smear” campaign against her online, mostly by fellow Chinese who accuse her of lying, which extended to real-life harassment, she said: “They smear my name, they try to get my daughter’s name on the Internet, they sent people to Shanghai to surround my family and to Nanjing to harass my neighbors.” She said the accusers, who are “angry” for reasons she doesn’t really understand, contacted U.S. immigration authorities to challenge her award and her citizenship, as well as shareholders of 3D Systems to warn them she was a “liar,” and not to buy Geomagic. Her second husband, Herbert Edelsbrunner, whom she has since divorced, received many “hate e-mails,” she said. “I just don’t want to hurt innocent people.”
If a first, unpublicized marriage might lay to rest one contentious issue, there are others. Some were the result of exaggeration or unclear communication with her co-author, MeiMei Fox of Los Angeles, she said.
In the interview, she volunteered an example of an error: a widely criticized account of the ‘‘period police,’’ the authorities who checked a woman’s menstrual cycle to ensure she wasn’t pregnant in the early days of the one-child policy. To stop women substituting others’ sanitary pads for inspection, they were sometimes required to use their own finger to show blood. Through a misunderstanding with Ms. Fox, Ms. Fu said this was portrayed as the use of other people’s fingers — an invasion of the woman’s body.
Ms. Fox “wrote it wrong,’’ she said. ‘‘I corrected it three times but it didn’t get corrected.’’ Women used their own finger to show blood, she said, but the mistake went into print anyway.
In general, Ms. Fox may have ‘‘just made some searches on the Internet that maybe weren’t correct,’’ Ms. Fu said.
Chiefly the errors involved use of the words ‘‘all, never, any,’’ that generalized unacceptably, Ms. Fu said. And, ‘‘She doesn’t know China’s geography,’’ she said.
At the beginning of her memoir, Ms. Fu writes of being kidnapped by a Vietnamese-American on arrival in the U.S. state of New Mexico and locked in his apartment to care for his very young children, whose mother had left, in a bizarre incident. A spokeswoman at the Albuquerque Police Department’s Records Office, where the alleged kidnapping took place, said she could not locate such an incident in their records. Asked about it, Ms. Fu repeated that she did not press charges as, fresh from China, she was terrified of all police, “So I don’t know how they keep records, if there is no criminal charges or record.”
And in an e-mail to me, she admitted she made mistakes about a magazine she said she helped edit, called Wugou, or “No Hook,” produced in 1979 by students at her college, then called the Jiangsu Teacher’s College (later it changed its name to Suzhou University, she said.) It was not that magazine but another one, This Generation, that was taken to a meeting in Beijing of student magazine writers from around the country, she wrote in the e-mail. “A good case that shows everyone’s memory can be wrong,” she wrote.
But bigger questions about the scale of the online vitriol from parts of the Chinese and Chinese-American community remain. “I really haven’t known China for 20-something years, and it didn’t occur to me that what I wrote would generate so much anger,” she said. In the last years, “as China got stronger, nationalistic views got stronger,” she said, making a “civil conversation” about disagreements apparently harder.
Additional reporting by Cindy Hao in Seattle.