Saturday, April 13, 2013

Broken Fact: Fu Ping's First Political Trouble in College

The Original Story:
On Pages 252-253 of Bend, Not Break, Fu Ping details the political trouble she endured at Suzhou University in the fallout of her magazine being criticized by Deng Xiaoping:
So when the news came back to Suzhou University of what Deng Xiaoping had said about our magazine, the authorities interpreted it as very bad news and took a preemptive strike against us. 
The Red Maple Society was deemed an illegal underground society responsible for publishing anti-Communist propaganda. University officials arrested and interrogated all the students who belonged to our magazine group. For weeks, they pressed us to confess our counterrevolutionary activities. As the editor in chief, I was held most responsible for the trouble. For punishment, I was given a black mark in my personal file... 
For the rest of the semester, I endured relentless criticism by Communist Party officials and never-ending confession sessions. I sank into a deep depression.
The Debunking:
Now we know that Deng Xiaoping was not even aware of Fu Ping's magazine, the entire premise of the above passage falls apart. Shall we category it as her fantasy, nightmare, or simply "emotional memory"?

Update (6/20/2013): Suzhou University confirmed the existence of Red Maple Society in their school at the time. But no members of that organization had experienced political trouble. Two of its key members were selected to become professors at the school, considered prestige position for its graduates.

Update (7/5/2013): In an interview with Qiaobao on July 3, 2013, Fu Ping reinterpreted the meaning of word "arrest" in this story:
I had indeed not been taken into custody because of Red Maple Society. But in my book I used the word "arrest," which could mean "taking into custody" or "detain," it could also be understood as "stop." It was not as going into prison, but that they don't allow you to attend classes. They put several of you into a room, make you write confessions and expose each other.  

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