As a Chinese, I lived through that period of time in China. I have similar
family and educational background as hers and suffered during Culture
Revolution as a child. I think her experiences in China mostly, if not all,
are fabricated, imagined, overly exaggerated or deliberately miss leading.
If one just read the media reports about her book, he/she may think that
media might just pick the sensational parts of the book and exaggerated a
little bit to help her to sell the book. No, it is not the case. She lied
from very beginning to the end in the book, even on the small detailed
events. I am amazed by her audacity of telling so many blatant lies in such
a well publicized book.
Here are some of the social and culture background of that period of time in
1. In traditional Confucius Chinese culture, children were considered as
property of their parents. Parents had absolute rights to their children,
including the rights to abuse or sell their kids. Since Mao's communists
took over the power of China, parents can't sell their kids anymore, but all
other rights were respected, including the rights of adopted parents (if
the adoptions were legal and paper work complete). Culture Revolution didn't
change any of that.
During Culture Revolution, many government officials, college teachers and
professors, and intellectuals were persecuted or locked up. My parents were
among those people just like Ping Fu's parents(if her claims are true).
There were a period of time that both of my parents were locked up. My
parents arranged me to be taken care by relatives, family friend or to live
in a boarding child care center. Many of my relatives' children and other
people in similar situation all had similar experiences as me. I had never
heard of any kids being taken away by authorities, it is just against way of
thinking. No one, including government could take people's children away.
There isn't such agency to do that kind of job and no facility for that kind
of children. That would cost money too and China was very poor at that time
, children were burdens.
Red Guard were "revolutionists", they were busy criticizing and persecuting
people like my parents (or Ping's parents), or fighting each other. They
didn't care about little kids, and didn't interested in taking care of
children. Kids like us were left alone, although often were discriminated in
schools and in society in general. After Culture Revolution ended, Many
people in China wrote about their experiences during that time. All of those
stories regarding kids that I've read of were more or less similar to mine,
I had never heard of or read about any camp like what Ping wrote in her
book, nothing close to what she told. Ping's story as a child just sounds
impossible and did not add up with many things in that time.
2. The culture on sex in China have been completely different from the West.
China was extremely conservative on sex before 80's. Young people were very
ignorant about sex and usually didn't have any sexual experiences before
they met the person they would marry. People don't even talk or joke about
sex. Rape committed by young men was rare at that time, especially in cities
. Rape was a very serious crime in China and punishment could be the death
decades ago. Raping or molestation of little children by young people was
even rarer. Gang rape was unheard of. In my whole 20 year living in China,
the only gang rape I had heard of were committed by foreigners in 80's.
Red Guard were "revolutionists", not street thugs or rapists, they might
beat or persecute people, but not rape. Ping's claim that she was GANG raped
by young Red Guards (as reported by many media. But in her book, she was
rape by a bunch of young teen boys under broad day light at a university
campus) at age 10 because she saved her little sister against their will is
just so unimaginable, so against China's sexual culture and thinking,
especially against Red Guards' way of thinking and behaving.
3. The schools were re-open in 1968 in most of the places, and were free,
even for kids whose parents being persecuted like me. Najing is one of the
biggest city in China. I just couldn't imagine the reason that Ping could
not go to school. Besides, in 70's, most of high school graduates had to go
to poor and rural countryside, there were very limited job for them in the
cities. Factory jobs were considered very good jobs and extremely hard to
get in 70's. Many people had to bribe or use their connection to land their
kids a factory job. And factory don't accept child as employee or labor
unless they finished their schooling. Schools may organize kids to work in
factories for several weeks to get experiences though. I did that in middle
So Ping's story of working in the factory as a child and not be able to go
to school in one of the biggest and most developed city in China is just not
impossible to be true.
4. China's college didn't admit any high school graduates from 1966 to 1976.
The first college entrance exam after Culture Revolution was held in 1977.
Any person who graduated high school between 1966 and 1976 could take the
exam. The competition for limited college seats was fierce. In early 80's,
when only currently year high school graduates could take the college
entrance exam, only 4% could get into college. So you can imagine how
competitive to get into college in year 77. The study materials and books
were very limited at that time. Unparented and unschooled Ping Fu could get
into college in 1977, she must be a supper human.
5. All college students in China had to take 4 years of English classes. The
supper human Ping Fu could only speak three phrases of English when she
came to the US, one year after graduating from college: thank you, hello,
and help. Give me a break.
6. China's One Child policy officially started in later year of 1980. At
that year, Ping should be a college junior. For a person grew up in city to
think of writing her college senior year graduation thesis about killing of
baby girls in rural countryside because of a newly started government policy
, it is just sounds impossible for me. China's one child policy and related
abortion issue wasn't caught international attention until 90's. So, even if
Ping Fu wrote something about that, I don't think that government cared.
Beside, after Cultural Revolution, Chinese government don't arrest people
for political reason anymore, except few rare cases. In early 80's, there
were several students at my college did something politically more
influential and considered much more unacceptable to the government than
Ping's paper, they got some trouble but not arrested or detained.
In 80's, China was still very poor. Ultrasound was rare and expensive
medical equipment. Ultrasound exam wasn't a routine exam for pregnant women
even in the best hospitals in the biggest city like Shanghai or Beijing.
People also didn't have the knowledge that ultrasound exam can tell the
gender of the fetus. I don't know how Ping Fu could find that there were
prevalent practice of forced abortions of young girl fetuses in poor rural
China between 1980-1981, .
Besides, US and China were still in honey moon in early 80's. China wasn't
demonized and criticized so much by the West like nowadays. Two countries
were kind of allies against then Soviet Union. China didn't started the
practice of deporting dissidents to US until 90's. And each time before the
deporting, the two government had to negotiate extensively. US don't accept
nobody, they only accept those famous dissents. Ping Fu was nobody and
She graduated from college in Spring of 1982, came to the US in 1983(some
media says in 1982). In this short one year or even less, her college
graduation paper reached media, gained domestic and international media
attention(I was in China at that time, never heard of that story), she was
detained by Chinese government and then deported to the US. None of the US
and Chinese government was that efficient. Chinese media wasn't that free to
dig and report that kind of news at early 80's. This is just impossible.
So this whole episode of imprisonment because of a paper and deportation to
the US is just contradict with everything in that period of time.
7，"Child soldier". I don't know what this "Child soldier" she was. In China
, there was no "Child soldier". During Cultural Revolution, military
soldiers and personnels had the highest social status and relatively better
paid. It was hard for even high school graduates to join the army. The only
"Child soldiers" that I knew of were kids with special talents, such as
singing, dancing, playing music instruments, or acting. They were recruited
by entertainment units of the military. They would study, be trained and
taken care of in those military entertainment units. Those were considered
extremely lucky kids and envied by every body.
If anything we can learn from this book, it probably would be the audacity a
person could have to lie. May be that's the only secrete of her success in
the US. It is too bad that innocent American people have to learn about
China, Cultural Revolution and Chinese people through this kind of lies.
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Posted on Feb 11, 2013 3:37:08 AM PST
The length of my review exceeded what Amazon allowed. This is the truncated