Thursday, June 20, 2013

Document: Suzhou University's Press Briefing

The following is the content of a press briefing held by Suzhou University on June 20, 2013, delivered by Chen Jinhua (陈进华), a spokesman for the school. Fu Ping's teacher Ni Junqiang (倪均强) and classmate Hu Zhenfang (胡振芳) at the school also spoke at the press conference.

Besides the falsehood already exposed and documented on this site, this briefing included several pieces of new information from her file record at school, written in her own handwriting:
  1. Fu Ping had attended Nanjing Guanghuamen High School and graduated in 1976. She served as a class monitor there. 
  2. After high school, she did work in a factory for a year, before passing the national exam in 1978 to attend Suzhou University.
  3. Fu Ping had joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in 1973, a political honor that was even more restrictive than becoming a member of the Red Guard. 
The English language version is based on the translation by several readers who participated in the Amazon forum (Lanlan Wang, Sue Rogers, and American).

Update (7/21/2013): Suzhou University has now released images of the relevant files.
Soochow University's Press Briefing on Deceptive Behavior of Ping Fu 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 
In the last 3 months, many of our alumni and friends at home and abroad have contacted us regarding the validity of an English language memoir, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, written by Ping Fu, a former student enrolled in our Department of Chinese Literature in 1978, and published on December 31, 2012. We were informed that this memoir contains  descriptions that contradicted with actual facts at the time. It insults the reputation of Soochow University as well as the image of our country and caused deep disappointments and anger among our alumni and friends. 
Upon the notifications and information received by us, Soochow University organized an investigation team to carefully examine Ping Fu's student file in our archive, to interview Ping Fu's former teachers and classmates, to collect original copies of the book, proof of her falsifying academic credentials, and other evidences of her real experience while in our school. We have previously published two official statements, both in Chinese and English, on the homepage of our school's web site. 
We thank all the friends from the media who travel here and your attention to this important matter concerning the reputation and image of our school and country. Now, let me explain several points regarding Ping Fu's memoir in which she presented false experience while in our school and related issues. 
1. About Ping Fu's academic experience in Soochow University 
Ping Fu, female, born in 1958, a native from Nanjing, was admitted as a student in Chinese Literature in September 1978 into Jiangsu Teachers' College (predecessor of Soochow University). During her undergraduate years, a demerit entry was made in her record in October 1981 for several infractions and repeated unexcused absences. In those years, all students enjoyed free tuition, living experience, and guaranteed jobs upon graduation provided by the national government. They were therefore expected to follow certain standards and discipline in school. On March 16, 1982, upon strong request froms her and her mother, Ping Fu formally withdrew from school. She left without BA diploma or bachelor degree from Soochow University, let alone an MA degree. However, Ping Fu claimed that she had BA and MA degrees from the Soochow University, and Ph.D degree from Nanjing University on several occasions. We have inquired Nanjing University which confirmed that Ping Fu was not in their PhD grantee list. 
Ping Fu wrote in her book that she entered Soochow University when she was 19 years old. Yet, according to her registration form filled by herself, she was born on May 30th, 1958, which indicates that she should be 20 years old when she registered at Soochow University in October, 1978. 
Ping Fu entered the Department of Chinese Literature in October, 1978. At that time, the national college entrance exams are conducted separately for liberal arts and science students. The liberal arts students took exams in Chinese, Math, Politics, History, Geography, and Foreign Language. The science students took those in Chinese, Math, Politics, Physics, Chemistry, and Foreign Language. Scores for Foreign Language were not included in the admission criteria however. Our records show that Ping Fu was admitted into the Chinese Literature major per her first choice. There was no evidence that she had wanted to study Space Engineering but got assigned for Chinese Literature.

2. About her English classes from 1978 to 1982 
In her memoir, Ping Fu claimed that she went to the U.S., knowing only three English words - "hello, thank you, and help." Our records show that she earned an "Excellence" grade and an 88 (of 100) in English as a freshman (1978 to 1979) and as a sophomore (1979 to 1980), respectively. In both cases her scores were above average of her class. English was a mandatory course for all our students.  
3. About Ping Fu's Graduation Thesis 
Ping Fu withdrew from this University in March, 1982, so her name is not in the list of graduates of that year. There is no graduation thesis in her file. On the departure check list which was signed by each graduate, there is no record indicating that she received any graduation or degree certificate. 
As an additional note of clarification, student thesis topics in the Department of Chinese Literature have always focused on literature and linguistic topics and would not involve social subjects such as female infanticide. Besides, topics and contents of graduation thesis required pre-approval by advisory teachers. We have found no teacher aware of Ping Fu having written a thesis on that subject. 
In her book Ms. Ping Fu wrote that she was arrested and interrogated by university officials  because she had participated in a "Red Maple Society," been the chief editor of its magazine, and published her own articles. There was indeed a Red Maple Society, but there was no one among the class 78 students who was arrested or persecuted for being a member of that organization. In fact, the University had no power to arrest or interrogate students. We have two professors who were key members of Red Maple Society back then. They have been working in this University until today. If they were persecuted, how could we keep them as teachers after graduation and later became professors? 
Ping Fu also wrote about a representative from Red Maple Society was received by Deng Xiaoping during a private meeting. This is completely untrue. Had that actually happened, the University would have recorded and hailed it as a great honor. 
4. Finger Checking for pregnancy 
According to many faculties of SooChow University, including former classmates, mentors, officials in the department of Chines literature of Ping Fu's, and many students from her class, the school had never applied the insulting method of checking female students' period with fingers. Some of the female students from that time who are working in our school now can testify to that. 
5. About the kidnapping in fall of 1982 on S.U campus, in a black head cover. 
Ping Fu mentioned in her book that, "One day in the fall of 1982, as I innocently walked across campus making preparations for graduation, someone sneaked up behind me, jammed a black canvas bag over my head..." As a matter of fact, Ping Fu had dropped out in March of 1982. So, how could she walk on campus to prepare her thesis in that fall? Even all her former classmates had already graduated and left school by then.  
6. About Ping Fu made up life story in Cultural Revolution in her book 
From the registration record in Ping Fu's own handwriting, we know that she had completed formal middle level education. She graduated from Nanjing Guanghuamen High School in 1976. She was the class president. In 1973, she joined the Chinese Communist Youth League. After her high school graduation in July, 1976, she worked for a year in Nanjing Radio Equipment Factory for a monthly salary of 17 Yuan. In 1978, the acceptance rate for college admission was very low. It's hard to imagine one could be admitted without decent grades in high school. This proves that many of her description in Bend, Not Break during that period were made up.
In summary, It is very clear that Ping Fu lied about her life relevant to Soochow University in her book. We have several of her former teachers and classmates here. They will answer your questions and tell you the actual facts. We will not comment or answer any questions on events unrelated to our school as we have not investigated them. 
Although Ping Fu never graduated from Soochow University, she was nonetheless one of our students and alumni. So, for the sake of love and care, and for the reputation of our university, the best way to resolve this issue is to show the historical truth. This will also benefit Ping Fu herself in the long run. We once again call on Ping Fu to thoroughly acknowledge and rectify her lies, remove falsified content from her book, stop media interviews and speeches promoting her book, apologize to the people and institutions, including Soochow university, that she had hurt. At the same time, we call on publishers and media to take historical facts seriously and maintain professionalism, ethics, and integrity. We also appeal to our media friends, who came here today from home and abroad, to objectively report Ping Fu and her relevant issues based on fact and truth. 
I will make the manuscript of this speech available to any reporters after the meeting. Please note, however, that PDF files containing evidences are not to be disclosed at this time.

Thank you.

近期,关心我校发展的海内外校友们和朋友们,以来函来电方式,反映或提及了我校中文系78级学生傅苹撰写的,2012年12月31日正式出版的回忆录《弯而不折:一段生命两个世界》(Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds)中,有多处与当时事实完全不相符合的文字表述,有辱于国家形象和苏州大学的办学名誉,引起了海内外校友和朋友们的极大不满和愤慨。 
三. 关于傅苹毕业论文的问题 
四. 关于“手指检验”是否怀孕的问题 
综上所例,傅苹《回忆录》中涉及苏州大学的说谎内容应该非常清楚了。今天也有傅苹当年的老师、同学在场,他们会接受大家的提问,告诉大家真实的情况。 至于苏州大学以外的内容,我们没有调查研究,不予评论也不便回答提问。 

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