I first knew about Ping Fu through Sir Harold Evans's interview. She told some bizarre tales there https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq8qv4t6P
When she described that she saw hundreds of babies tossed into the river alive, (3:60) I knew immediately that she was lying. Just common sense: what is the probability of her got invited to watch the murder of a stranger's own child? How about having that experience 100+ times in just two years? Even if that were true, given the road condition in China's countryside and the terrible means of transportation in early 1980s, what was the probability of her arriving there on time for the show? It is an insult to any reasonable person's intelligence to make up some stories like this.
Then I moved to Amazon and tried to read the "Click to Look inside" and found more bizarre tales. At the intro of the book:
-- On page 1 in Bend Not Break, the very first sentence of this book, she described her departure to the US: "WHEN I WAS twenty-five years old, the Chinese government quietly deported me. I was terrified to leave my homeland. But the alternative was exile to a remote place in China - or worse."
Really? I still remember how difficult it was to get a student visa to the US in late 1990s. (The quite street in front of US embassy Beijing was like a Justin Bieber concert line. People queue at 5 am every working day until noon outside of the building, rain or snow. I observed the same thing in Mexico City in mid 2000s)
But Ping Fu got deported to the US by Chinese government in early 1980s? Should all the undocumented workers from China just do something to upset the government? Why worth the hassle of paying smuggler (using loan of 40k to 60k) USD? Remember the Golden Venture story from 1997? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Ventu
Immigrants at any education level would know immediately this is not true ( just by reading the intro) if they have been through a visa interview by US embassy and heard about something called 214(b) of US immigration Law. http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/denials
Then more strange tales:
1. Finger-checking for menstrual blood for unmarried 20 year old female students for their potential second baby?
2. Her teacher being quartered by horses?
3. Sun Yat-sen's adoption of her grandfather?
4. Deng Xiaoping ordered her release from prison?
This list can go on and on...
What got me truly involved was Sir Harold Evan's article, calling the book critics "Agent of Communist China". Katie Baker wrote "The Book China Hates" Sir Evans and Katie Baker think themselves representing the "free" media, but they use the same tactic that authoritarian governments would use to silence all dissents.
I would have paid no attention if Fu and the publisher had labeled the book as fiction and no nasty labeling of the book critics.
2) Why am I still here after 6 months?
I will not repeat many reasons that you will probably read from the comments page of Didi Tatlow's blog ( http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/
Many people there write better than I can articulate.
I would like to, however, emphasis one thing: "Fair Play", one of the reason why I voted with my feet and decided to stay in the USA . Our legislative bodies constantly design and modify laws to make this society more fair. For example, the Affirmation Action to raise level playing field for disadvantaged minorities, Marriage Equality Act for gay couples, Federal False Claim Act to protect whistler blowers, etc.
Ping Fu gained unfair advantage by fabricating her eye-catching life story, fabricating resume to obtain NSF grant and alleged lying to the federal government through her "First Marriage" in 1986. But no consequences, only praises?
Ping Fu's supporter frequently say "Ping Fu's book does not harm you". Not sure if you are a Yankee's fan, but in the world of baseball, Alex Rodriguez used steroids to gain unfair advantage and now faces the possibility of ban from the game for life. If this happens, New York Yankee, A Rod and his family , fans like me, will all lose. Why MLB would do that? Ping Fu supporters also say:" Ping Fu is successful". Many capable people apologized and stepped down for violating code of conducts, ranging from Eliot Spitzer to Scott Thompson. Why is Ping Fu so special?
Ping Fu scandal really challenged my understanding of the world around me. Did I paint a too rosy picture for this society? Many of the tales from Ping Fu' s book are not hard to detect with some critical thinking skill. Why so many smart and experienced people believe in these tales? However, it is not over till the fat lady sings, I am also in the process, just like you, learning and trying understand better.
I feel it is my social responsibility to participate in the debunk of Ping Fu's fabrication.
If she can lie so blatantly, people should be able to criticize her. In addition, there could be other fabrications and as it turned out, we are right.
Here is a compilation of Ping Fu's academic fraud from various websites. All facts based, only limited to falsely claimed degrees:
I am not upset about the whole event but feel the irony and occasionally find some amusement in the process. Here is a Virginia Tech Biology professor's review at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2P6V1S6E5E2DW/ref=cm_aya_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1591845521
Again, all common sense.
Lastly, I would like to quote two comments from my reading related to the event:
"In the past, when geographical and language barriers kept information from spreading, Fu would probably have got away with her fabrications without anybody noticing. However, with internet, it is increasingly difficult to make "I was big in America" or "I was big in China" claims that are untrue without public exposure. People leave digital trails that eventually lead the public to the truth." -- ChinaDaily.com (This is the first ever article I read from ChinaDaily)
Chris , an Amazon book reviewer from Berkeley California, said it very well: "Fabricating suffering for personal gain is a true insult to those who did suffer."
Again, thank you for taking a more balanced approach to this Ping Fu scandal and feel free to ask any follow-up questions. My English is not perfect and I am trying very hard to get my thoughts through.