Feature

Author of the week: Ping Fu

For years, the CEO of Geomagic kept quiet about the harrowing details of her childhood in revolutionary China.

Ping Fu is a reluctant provocateur, said John Murawski in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. The 54-year-old CEO of the tech firm Geomagic kept quiet about the harrowing details of her childhood experience in revolutionary China for years, and more than once backed out of finishing a memoir. “I never really wanted to write a book,” she says. The process was “too painful.” But she never anticipated the controversy that would erupt after Bend, Not Break was finally published this winter. An army of China-based bloggers assailed her, accusing her of lying about being gang-raped by members of the Red Guard at age 10 and being imprisoned in her 20s. Soon, her book’s Amazon page was flooded with nasty reviews and her business partners, she says, began receiving threatening emails. “This caught me by surprise,” she says. “This is Internet terrorism.”

But serious questions have been raised about Fu’s claims, said Tania Branigan in The Guardian (U.K.). For example, no evidence exists to back up her anecdote that Red Guards used horses to tear any prisoner limb from limb. Fu has now backtracked on that charge. “In my mind I always thought I saw it,” she says. “Now I’m not sure my memory served me right.” She also admits that her book, written with a co-author, mildly misrepresents the events that led to her 1984 departure from China. Fu insists, however, that her account is mostly accurate, and she has her publisher behind her. “Who can get 50 years of memory right?” she says.

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