When Fu Ping tells the story of her rape, she has been inconsistent with who the perpetrators were, alternating between "a group of teenagers" and "the Red Guards". In Bend, Not Break, Page 75, she wrote:
I noticed a group of about ten teenage boys standing nearby.In January, 2010, Fu Ping gave a Story of an Entrepreneur speech in North Carolina in which she stated:
My sister was thrown into a river to drown. I tried to save her and I was gang-raped by the Red Guards because I jumped into the river to try to save my sister.On January 7, 2013, she told the Authors at Google program:
I was gang-raped by a group of teenagers, broken, cut up with a knife.Then, a week later, on WNYC's Leopard Lopate Show, she switched to Red Guards:
Lopate: So, the Red Guards raped you?A couple months later, it was teenagers again in her speech at the Downtown Speakers Series in Las Vegas:
Fu: Yes. There were about 10 or 12 Red Guards. They threw my sister into the water canal. I jumped in to save her. She was saved but I was not spared.
Lopate: Now, the Red Guards were supposed to be the moral conscience of China at the time. How could they reconcile with what they did?
Fu: At that time, the Red Guards did a lot of things. Raping, killing, taking things from people. And it was encouraged. They were told that they were masters of the country. They were told that the bourgeoisie class had deprived them for better lives so they were allowed to do anything. It's kind of like the Nazis.
When I was 10 years old, I also experienced a very dramatic event. I was gang-raped by a group of teenagers, and i was left on the soccer field to die.
Pretty much all Red Guard members were teenagers, but not all teenagers were Red Guards at the time. Fu Ping seems to be using the two terms interchangeably. But does the difference matter?
Fu Ping never stated it clearly either in her book or interviews, but it appeared that she knew at least some of the boys who attacked her. In Bend, Not Break, she described how the kids call out her and her assumed friend's name while beating her, indicating that they were local kids who knew her well. Therefore, it reasons that Fu Ping would know them and if they were Red Guard members.
If they were, why didn't she state so in her book?
In some aspects, the Red Guards in early days were indeed "kind of like the Nazis," or the Hitler Youth. They committed many brutal crimes, mostly destroying people's homes, public humiliation, and beating. Some of the beatings led to death directly or indirectly.
Just like Hitler Youth, however, Red Guards were doing such dirty deeds with a noble purpose, as they believed it was the only way to achieve a revolutionary victory. For that purpose, they did posses a special set of morality. While beating up and even killing enemies was an accepted behavior, rape was not.
This is not to say that there had been no rape committed by Red Guards. There were, especially in the later years when chaos and disillusion spread among their ranks. But those tended to be crimes committed by individuals in secret.
If the crime was not committed by Red Guards but common teenage hooligans, they would certainly be punished by the law enforcement, even when the victim was a child of "bad elements."
China traditionally punishes crimes committed by groups (perceived as some sort of organized entity) a lot more harshly than those by individuals. It's one of the reasons that gang-rape has been much less wide-spread than individual rapes. Gang rapes involving a group as large as 10 would be very rare indeed.
Fu Ping's tragedy not long involved a group of that size, it also occurred openly in the public soccer field under daylight. There were other children (who called Fu Ping out in the first place) present. Whoever sent Fu Ping to the clinic afterwards must have also witnessed it. And, by the description of the book, those rapists did not bother to hide their deeds either.
It is possible that some horrendous crimes escaped punishment in those chaotic years, but the way this crime was carried out showed an unusual degree of boldness that made it less than credible.