Saturday, April 27, 2013

Broken Fact: Fu Ping's Passport Timeline

The Original Story:
In Bend, Not Break, Fu Ping told a very convoluted story of how she managed to obtain a passport to travel abroad (which we will debunk later). On Pages 255-260, she had a rough timeline for the process:

  1. "One day in the fall of 1982," she was supposedly arrested by kidnapping
  2. 3 days later, she was released. Then, "I stayed inside for weeks as my family tried to figure out some way of helping me..."
  3. "A few weeks after the house arrest begain..." she was told to leave the country
  4. "A week later," she received an offer of clandestine help from a police
  5. "A few weeks later, my passport arrived in the mail."
The Changing Story:
In several interviews, however, Fu Ping told a different story. That she was given a passport "two weeks" after her arrest. This was reported in the Inc. profile, initial story on Forbes

And also in her very own words, for example, At Authors at Google on January 7, 2013:
But he didn't give any other instructions so nobody knew what to do with me. I was let out. Two weeks later, I was given a passport and told to leave the country and never to come back again.
When Jenna Goudreau of the Forbes questioned the conflicting timeline, Fu Ping, through her publicist, could not produce a satisfying answer:
Late last night, Fu’s publicist emailed me that they “confirmed that Ping started school in 1978 and left school in the fall of 1982 after being held by the government. She arrived in the U.S. on January 14, 1984.” So she was at home for over year before the police asked her to leave China? “The government asked Ping to leave a couple of weeks after her release,” the publicist wrote me. “However, getting a passport was very difficult, if not impossible, at that time. Even though Ping was asked to leave China, she had to wait for an official passport to be issued.”
The Debunking:
Getting a passport to leave China could indeed be very difficult in the early 1980s -- for ordinary citizens. One would presume that, if the government had decided to deport someone, all would be arranged.

The timeline in her book itself is a little fuzzy, of course. But it is reasonable to deduct that all the events happened within months of "fall of 1982" and that she spent weeks if not months obtaining the passport. Yet then she waited till the January of 1984 to actually leave the country. What a leisure way of getting "deported" into exile!

The alternative "two weeks" timeline would be a lot more consistent with the "deportation" claim. (Although, in practice, Chinese government typically only handed out the passport at the airport just as the deportee was escorted onto an airplane, after they started the practice in the mid-1990s.) Alas, it did not fit her timeline.

With her clarification to Forbes, we know for certain that she had lied to several reporters with the "two weeks" claim, including the instance that was recorded on videotape on Authors at Google


  1. She was free to go back to China in 1991. Chinese government approved her visa obviously.

    Just like the Boston Bombing Attacker's parents, they took political asylum, but they were free to go back to Russia. How could that happen?

    1. They could always claim that the government and situation have since changed.

  2. "A few weeks later, my passport arrived in the mail."
    That's a fabrication by MeiMei Fox. I don't think Chinese people would get their passports in the mail.