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China's try at a Holocaust came in 1966 and only ended in 1976. A new book "Bend, Not Break" from Ping Fu tells the story from the point of view of an 8-year old girl. Mao and the Gang of Four unleashed Red Guards and murdered 3-million people. Many millions of families were torn apart. There are parallels to "Night" and to "Diary of Anne Frank" -- including a mini-industry of paid "8-cent" (per posting) deniers.  

Elie Wiesel's book "Night" described his existence inside Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald. With "Diary of Anne Frank" it explained the Holocaust in human terms..

"Night" is a tiny book. It goes one place.

"Bend, Not Break" from Ping Fu lives in the same room.

Ping-Ping, 8, arrives alone after being snatched by the Red Guards, as though at Elie's railroad platform.

Take a deep breath:

Four hours later, the train came to a squeaking halt at Nanjing Station, where the scene was almost identical to the one I'd witnessed in Shanghai. People fought their way off the train and onto the packed platform, sending their sacks flying through the windows. Fights broke out. Women, their clothes and children wrapped tightly in bundles under their arms, dashed out of sight.

I felt beads of sweat form on my forehead and the palms of my hands. I wondered if everyone except for me knew where to go and what to do. The kind old man who had shared his seat with me had already left; I was alone.

I sat motionless on my seat, trying to make myself invisible. Streetcar Number 24, which stopped in front of our Shanghai house, traveled in a loop. Shanghai Mama always told me that if I ever got lost, I only needed to stay on the same streetcar until it brought me back home. It occurred to me that the train probably worked the same way. If no one found me here, I could simply stay put, and this train would take me back to Shanghai, where I would be reunited with my mama.

We know that the charm is not going to work.

Red Guards kill 3-million. That is how many Polish Jews Hitler killed, before he killed a million Hungarian Jews and Romanians including Elie's mother and father, a sister, and the most of his other relatives.

We also have a day ticket for you to Orwellian madness.

This is free. Scroll down the Amazon page for "Bend, Not Break" to the Customer Comments section.

There you enter an inky suffusion of "liar." As with Holocaust denials, this word is written hundreds of times. You can skim through these Group Think insults, the most of 27 pages of them, where plainly the typists doing these "reviews" were not allowed to look anywhere near the book itself.

These non-reading "revieweers" are the 8-cent-a-posting shills paid by the Communist Party of China.

They would rewrite history to defend the Red Guards: the mindless service to Mao, the murders, and then the 20- or 30-million girl-murders and forced abortions that followed on, mirroring their barbarity. These deniers would have us believe that apart from bludgeoning Grandfather to death, the Red Guards were Boy Scouts.

Ping Fu's book and these 1984/Animal Farm Customer Comments, taken together, are the stuff of "Night."

To be noted: I have yet to see an Amazon-pages defense for the Schutzstaffel, the SS. I don't read Pat Buchanan, so maybe I'm missing something.

"Bend, Not Break" might get a "C+" in an English composition class. Same as Fred Smith got a "C+" when he wrote up the concept paper for FedEx. This gal Ping Fu, born in 1958, is as tough as an Emperor penguin holding an egg. Of course, read her book.

There is a little more, a link or two and another free excerpt where she becomes parent-in-place for her little sister, below le chignon d'orange.


Little tiny 8-year old Chinese girl gets hijacked by history -- victim of the Red Guards and Mao the Mad Man. And she has a tinier 4-year old sister Hong. With parents snatched, she keeps the both of them alive. Starvation, bad water, rape, forced labor, seeing infanticide and forced abortions of female children, getting to America (I'm guessing the family hid some gold), and building a top-level tech career -- all of it streams past.

Full excerpt is here:

-- Chapter 1: Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds

In the early parts it could be "Night."

Here she has been dropped at the university. Her sister, Hong, is 4 and becomes Ping-Ping's responsibility.

Suddenly, I heard my nickname being called by a thin and familiar voice. Standing on my tiptoes and stretching my neck long to make myself taller, I struggled to determine where the sound was coming from.

"Ping-Ping!" the voice called again, enabling me to home in on one of the trucks where Red Guards were loading up citizens. Standing there in the truck bed were my Nanjing parents. They furiously nudged their bodies through the crowd to get closer to the edge of the truck bed so that they could wave to me. Their faces were flushed red and drawn tight.

I kept pushing my way toward them through the crowd, but their truck pulled away too quickly. All I caught were a few glimpses of Nanjing Mother, with Nanjing Father's head popping up over her shoulder.

"Ping-Ping, take care of your sister," I heard Nanjing Mother shout as the truck drove off in a cloud of dust.

At their disappearance, I felt numb. My shoulders shook as I doubled over on myself, scared and confused.

That was the first time I felt the falling sensation that was to become so familiar to me over the years. I was falling, falling, and there was no one to catch me. There was no one left here who knew me, and no one to care for me. I got sick to my stomach, nearly vomiting onto the shoes of the people surrounding me.

If only my eighth birthday wish had come true, I thought. If only I could fly. I'd soar like a bird up into the heavens, out of this nightmare, and back home to Shanghai, to my loving mama and siblings and our peaceful home.

The next thing I knew, Red Guards grabbed me and pushed me into a line with other disheveled kids. We walked across the street to the student dormitory area, where a pair of two-story gray concrete buildings stood parallel; not far from them were a scum-filled water canal and a long brick wall. A trail of garbage brought my attention to a soccer field on the west side. This would be my home and neighborhood for the next ten years.


I was handed papers that I couldn't read--the characters were too sophisticated for me. A big, official red stamp decorated the top of each page. Along with several dozen other children who either wept or wore blank expressions, I was escorted up to the second floor of the dormitory. At the top of the stairs, I gazed, terrified, down a long, dark hallway illuminated by a single light bulb that hung by a wire from its socket. Identical rooms lined each side. The door hinges all were smashed, leaving the doors hanging at a slant.

Room 202 was near the stairs. "This is yours," a Red Guard escort told me. "You are forbidden from talking to anyone but your sister." I didn't have time to register what he'd said before he pushed open the creaking door to reveal a four-year-old girl sitting in the middle of a trash-littered room. She was wailing for her mama. A circle of shiny cement surrounded her on the filthy floor. She had flailed there for so long that she had polished it, like a halo, with her clothes, tears, and sweat.

"Mama!" she cried out, reaching her hands out to me.

I recognized her vaguely as Hong. When I had seen my Nanjing parents' little girl during previous visits, I had thought of her as my cousin. Now I realized that Hong was my sister. Still, I wasn't her mother!

"Mama" reflects the truth of the situation.


Publisher's Weekly.

In this outstanding testament to the resilience of the human spirit, Ping takes readers on a journey both heartbreaking and inspiring. Eight-year-old Ping is living a privileged life in Shanghai with her intellectual father and loving mother when her world explodes during the Cultural Revolution. With her family seen as an enemy of the state, they are forcibly split up, and Ping is placed in a meager camp with her four-year-old sister. After years of torture as a child, including a brutal gang rape at age 10, Ping is briefly detained after her college thesis on infanticide ends up in the hands of politicians. An exiled Ping immigrates to the U.S. in 1984 with just $80 in her pocket. In 1988, she graduated with a degree in computer science from the University of California at San Diego and worked on the team that created NCSA Mosaic, later known as the Netscape Web browser. Next, Ping and her husband founded Geomagic, a 3D software company, which has counted Mattel and Boeing as its clients. Ping's eloquent prose and remarkable attitude shine through in every word—and her compelling story will remind more than one reader to be thankful for what they have.

Wall Street Journal does a review.

Not quite blind to Murdoch's business interests, WSJ avoids naming infanticide and sex-based abortions as the subject matter that got Ping Fu thrown in jail. They like her entrepreneurial spirit. WSJ is clearly a less valuable moral proposition than the 8-centers.


I recommend "Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds."

And if you have not read "Night," it comes first in line. Simply, Elie is a great writer. He will set up the moral structure for what you are going to see during the Chinese chapters of "Bend, Not Break." He was older for his Holocaust and it shows. Together these are important books.

Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald from the inside. And echoes from China in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, still rippling today.

What more could we ask from two books?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

    by bontemps2012 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:30:19 PM PST

  •  there was a very good diary (4+ / 0-)

    recently about "Bend Don't Break" that you should maybe look for. There seem to be some very questionable claims in that book.

    Elie Wiesel OTOH is well known and no one questions what he went through. Thanks for the rec of "Night".

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:39:57 PM PST

    •  There is a whole industry of deniers (6+ / 0-)

      aimed at Elie Wiesel. He is accused of stealing other people's stories, inventing what happened, inventing incidents.

      That is the way with deniers.

      Complaints about Ping Fu are constructed similarly.

      -- Name of university

      -- Questioning the family being able to pay her airline ticket (where obviously they did),

      -- Claims that she published newspaper articles (where she states that it was her research that was used by others)

      Bullshit. The main facts relate to the Red Guard, out of control Red Guard males, the whole country messed up by Mao's narcissism. 3-million were murdered. Children got trashed.

      What she saw, she saw.

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:51:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't read it, but have read a bit about it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and am inclined to think that many if not most of the negative reviews on Amazon are exactly what you say, paid shills.

        It might be useful to post a link to the author Ping Fu's clarification/explanation of some of the sources of confusion or controversy.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:12:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is impressive. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          I will use it, if I get a lull and have time to do a comparison of Elie Wiesel and Ping Fu.

          Why did you say you were in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution?

          I did not say or write that I was in a labor camp; I stated that I lived for 10 years in a university dormitory on the NUAA campus. Chinese children don't get put in labor camps. I also did not say I was a factory worker. I said Mao wanted us to study and learn from farmers, soldiers and workers.

          If you were deprived of an education for those 10 years of the Cultural Revolution, and less than 5 percent of applicants were accepted when universities reopened, how did you get in? Were you a prodigy?

          After 1972, school resumed (p. 128). We had few formal classes at my school at the edge of Nanjing in an industrial area. I studied nonstop (pp. 229-231) and was known by my family as "the girl who never turns off her lights." (p. 231)

          Suzhou University did not reopen until 1982. How could you go there in 1977?

          A: This is a typo in the book (p. 232). I took the college entrance exams in 1977 and 1978, and was admitted in 1978. When I entered, I believe it was called Jiangsu Teachers College or Jiangsu Teachers University. Its name changed to Suzhou University before I left; it was the same university in the same location.

          In a 2010 NPR interview, you say you saw Red Guards execute one teacher by tying each limb to a separate horse and dismembering her by having each horse run simultaneously in a separate outward direction. During the Cultural Revolution, dismemberment using four horses was unheard of and would have been quite difficult. This was a legend from several hundred years ago.

          To this day, in my mind, I think I saw it. That is my emotional memory of it. After reading Fang's post, I think in this particular case that his analysis is more rational and accurate than my memory. Those first weeks after having been separated from both my birth parents and my adoptive parents were so traumatic, and I was only eight years old. There is a famous phrase in China for this killing; I had many nightmares about it.

          You claim you were brutally gang-raped. Gang rape doesn't happen in China.

          A: Rape is a very private matter and this definitely happened. I know this was not a hallucination. I have scars. My body was broken.

          In the Forbes piece, you say you wrote your undergrad thesis at Suzhou University on the practice of female infanticide in rural China. Your research received nationwide press coverage at the time, and you were sentenced to exile as a result.

          NOTE: The Forbes editorial mistake noting that I "published my thesis" on female infanticide in rural China has been corrected.

          I said I was asked to leave quietly. I did not say my research was published; it was never published. I was told that the reason I was arrested was because of my research (book p. 257).

          In the 2005 Inc. Magazine article, you explained that your findings on female infanticide were later covered by Shanghai's Wen Hui Bao newspaper and later then by People's Daily, resulting in condemnation from around the world, sanctions imposed by the UN, and you getting tossed into prison. People's Daily archives for the period when your research would've been published have nothing regarding female infanticide in rural China.

          I remember reading an editorial in a newspaper in 1982 that called for gender equality. It was not a news article and not written by me, and I didn't know it had anything to do with my research (pp. 253-255). When writing the book, I did not name the paper, since I wasn't certain. However, I think that is where I read the editorial because it was the most popular and official newspaper. People who have not read my book made assumptions that I submitted the research to the newspaper, or I published the thesis, but that was not how I described it in the book.

          Why does nobody else in China know that the UN placed sanctions on China in 1981? And how do you know that?

          A: I heard about the sanctions in China while awaiting my passport. I was told that the UN was unhappy about this issue. A quick web search shows that the American-based journalist Steven W. Mosher wrote about female infanticide in China in 1981. His book, called Broken Earth, was published in 1984 -- the same year I was waiting for my passport. Knowing this, it makes sense that I was asked to leave quietly. Anything else would have drawn more attention to the issue. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mosher successfully lobbied George W. Bush to cut UN funding for China. His story and the timeline are consistent with my experience.

          You say you were walking on campus when a black bag was suddenly thrown over your head and you were stuffed into a car before being arrested?

          Yes, this is how it happened. I never returned to classes and I did not graduate. My classmates were told that I had a mental breakdown. After my release, I did what I was told and laid low at home (book, p. 255, pp. 258-259). I originally had been planning to go to graduate school to study comparative literature in Nanjing, but that could not happen due to the circumstances.

          You said you were held three days and narrowly avoided being sentenced to reform through labor when authorities decided instead to send you into exile.

          A: I was asked to leave quietly and never come back again (book p. 258).

          Why would you, an unknown, be deported/expelled to study in the U.S., a treatment reserved for very prominent dissidents?

          As I describe in the book (pp. 257-261), I was told that I had to leave China, but not given a specific destination. I got a student visa, which was secured through a family friend at the University of New Mexico. On pages 258-259, I detail my application process to live abroad and how I ended up in America.

          Chinese international students had many ways of being able to stay in the United States. One of those was to fabricate bizarre tales of having faced persecution in China and apply for political asylum. It didn't matter how fantastic you made your experiences, Americans would still believe them to be true.

          I didn't apply for political asylum; I was explicitly told not to attract attention.

          According to Inc., you arrived at Suzhou University wanting to study engineering or business, but the Party assigned you to study English.

          When the acceptance letter came in the fall of 1978 (this is a typo in the book, where it reads 1977 on p 232), it said that I had been assigned to study literature at Suzhou University. Inc.magazine made an editorial error on my major in China; I majored in Chinese literature, not in English literature. (p. 99)

          Forbes said you arrived in the United States knowing only three words of English, yet there are different sets of those first three words: Inc.: Please, thank you, help; Bend, Not Break: Thank you, hello, help; NPR: Thank you, help, excuse me.

          In college, English language classes were offered, but not required. I did not study English ever. I had "level zero" English, just like most Americans know a few words of Spanish or French. I tried to learn more English when I knew I was going to the U.S., but when I arrived, I only remembered a few.

          In the Fast Company story image, you and other kids are wearing Red Guard armbands under the Red Guard flag, yet you claim you were not a Red Guard.

          If you zoom into that picture, you only need to look closely to see I have no red band on my arm. The image was taken in front of a Red Guard flag at the school that I attended in the late 70s. I wrote in the book that the situation got better after 1972. Still, I was never a Red Guard.

          One of my classmates also responded to Fang's article on his blog. What he says is consistent with what I wrote in the book, so he must be a classmate. He made comments based on Fang, assuming that what Fang said was in the book, however it was not. I would like to respond.

          You weren't in a labor camp.

          A: True, I did not say I was in a labor camp in the book, or ever.

          You did not go to college in 1977.

          True, I went in 1978; that is a typo in the book.

          How can the labor camp be 10 years long for you?

          He asked this question based on Mr. Fang Zhouzi's blog, which was an incorrect choice of words. I never said that I was at a labor camp. Forbes corrected this error.

          You did not publish your research and it was never published.

          Correct; I did not publish my research and it was never published. I left school; my mother and I went to the school and declared I had a mental breakdown so I would not be sent to remote China (page 258). You just didn't know the true reason I left.

          I want to say that I respect Mr. Fang Zhouzi, Forbes, and the classmate (sorry, I do not know the name since he used a pen name). Democracy means everyone is entitled to freedom of expression. Criticism is not a form of defamation; it is a form of speaking or seeking truth. I welcome constructive criticism.

          "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

          by bontemps2012 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 05:14:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gustogirl, flowerfarmer

    Just to say that there seems to be a strong argument that her story is false in parts. The only question is just how much of it is a lie.

    The historical facts (verifiable) do not jibe with her writing. This is not a matter of opinion it is a matter of fact.

    •  State specifics. Quote the book. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, IreGyre

      Provide references to validate the alternative.


      I'm used to seeing Holocaust Deniers make similar claims -- complicate stuff, too.

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 04:35:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather ask (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        why you seem so intensely invested in this book.  No specific responses from you, but you demand specifics.

        Then you haul out the emotionally laden phrases.

        Sorry, I've been lured down this sorry path before.

        Substance, please.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:08:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you raised children ? (0+ / 0-)

          A daughter or two?


          "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

          by bontemps2012 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:47:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Social engineering on Amazon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, mookins

    for once, I don't think these particular sockpuppets work for American corporations.

    •  Bingo! (0+ / 0-)

      And whoever has their "hands" in those socks is not allowed to read the book.

      Hopefully the Chinese are getting billed hourly lawyer-money for the effort.

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:08:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The pay's lousy: 0.50 renminbi (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012, mookins, Azazello

        The 50-Cent Party refers to people paid by branches and organizations of the Chinese government and Communist Party to comment on news forums.  Their job is to post articles that favor the party line.  The old wage was 5 renminbi, which is 0.50 yuan;  now it varies depending on who is paying.

        China's Paid Trolls:  Meet the 50-Cent Party

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:47:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fill that in and make a diary !! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mookins, Azazello

          Betcha it will deserve the REC list.

          Might even make it.

          "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

          by bontemps2012 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:00:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's not much more I can add. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I do not read Chinese or speak any Chinese dialect.  So the diary will have to wait for another topic.

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:17:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Relevant to this site, worth a diary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
        •  That's 8-cents. (0+ / 0-)

          So, if amazon has 250 shill postings -- calling "liar" without reading the book, defending Red Guard atrocities -- then the Communist Party of China is coughing up $20 for the slime.

          There should be a useful tag for them. Something that fits.

          "Shill" becomes "sh8ll" which pronounces as "shale" and is about as unsexy as it gets.

          Anyway it's half a yuan, five jiao. In speech: half a kuai qian, 5 mao. We're working on Mandglish, too.

          1 juan = 0.16 US dollars.

          "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

          by bontemps2012 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:20:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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