Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bent Fact: Fu Ping's Early Work in Countryside

The Original Story:
Compared to factory works, Fu Ping spent much less time talking about her doing child-labor in farming in Bend, Not Break. The only significant mention is on Pages 142-143:
After just six months making speedometers, I was sent on rotation to the countryside outside of Nanjing for half a year. I found similar situation there -- the farmers were decent people. We black elements had to work hard and do our share without complaining about our aching bodies or the bloodsucking leeches that attached themselves to our legs in the rice fields... 
All in all, working in factories and on farms proved far better for me than my first two years of existence under the tyranny of the Red Guard. I wasn't being abused any more, and I had a tribe to belong to.
The Changing Story:
After her tale of forced labor being widely criticized, Fu Ping issued the following "clarification" on March 6, 2013:
Why did you say you were in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution? 
I did not say or write that I was in a labor camp; I stated that I lived for 10 years in a university dormitory on the NUAA campus. Chinese children don't get put in labor camps. I also did not say I was a factory worker. I said Mao wanted us to study and learn from farmers, soldiers and workers.  

The Debunking:
According to her book, this happened after she "built radios for almost a year" when she started that at 10. So one and half a year later, when she was around 12, she was supposed to be sent "outside of Nanjing for half a year."

Presumably that, at that time, her little sister who at 8 was old enough to take care of herself, a little detail Fu Ping forgot to mention in her book.

Mao wanted all the children to "learn from farmers, soldiers, and workers," not just those "bad elements". It was part of the normal education at the time, not a punishment. It might go as long as a couple of weeks but it was unimaginable to last for six months for kids that age.

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