Former UI colleagues show support for Fu

The University of Illinois scientist walked into Paul Magelli's business consulting office and handed him a piece of paper with an algebraic equation.

As he tells it, Magelli looked at the equation and said, "I know math, but I don't know this level math. What does it do?"

The scientist, computer expert Ping Fu, told him, "It makes things perfect."

The 3-D modeling technology Fu developed in the 1990s with her husband, renown mathematician and computer scientist Herbert Edelsbrunner, grew into a business called Geomagic that would eventually make Ping Fu an entrepreneurial rock star.

Her fame has also brought her heartache, as critics have attacked her accounts of persecution in China as a child in her memoir, "Bend Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds."

Those who knew her at the UI say they have no doubts about Fu's story.

"I believe her. I believed her then. I believe she was genuine. In every other way I dealt with Ping, she had the highest integrity, both as a student, as a colleague, as a researcher and as a businesswoman," said art and design Professor Donna Cox, director of the Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where Fu worked.

After moving to the United States from China, Fu earned a master's degree in computer science at the UI in 1990. She was hired as a visiting research programmer in April 1991 and promoted to technical program manager in August 1995 before leaving NCSA in 1999.

Fu worked in a software development group at NCSA that produced the Mosaic software project, which led to Netscape and Internet Explorer. Among her collaborators was Netscape founder Mark Andreessen.

In 1996, she and her husband co-founded Geomagic — originally known as Raindrop Geomagic — "because the raindrop is the most prefect of all shapes," she told Magelli. The company has become a leader in digital shape sampling and processing, which involves scanning objects with optical beams and making 3-D digital replications of them for manufacturing and testing purposes.

Cox worked with Fu through their visualization work at NCSA. One of their projects was "Cosmic Voyage," an Imax film, using NCSA's virtual reality CAVE. Fu also took a computer animation course from Cox.

"She came here because of the excitement of NCSA," Cox said.

Ping shared many of the same stories outlined in her book about repression in China with her colleagues back in the 1990s, Cox said. She finds the attacks on Fu "ridiculous."

"There was no reason for her to make all of this up. They are trying to just ruin her reputation," she said. "Who knows why. It could be political, given the situation in China.

"To me, it just characterizes so many oppressed and victimized women who are not believed. They're disregarded. People try to undermine them."

"I have only positive things to say about Ping. She was so focused and settled on how to solve all kinds of problems, whether they were technical or whether they were management," Cox said. "She seemed fair, honest, with the highest integrity."

Magelli, who met Fu through a business consulting program at the UI College of Business, has become good friends with her and invited her back to campus several times. She recently delivered the annual Cozad Lecture at the College of Business, speaking about the potential for 3-D printing to reinvigorate American manufacturing.

He describes her as "brilliant" and a "visionary," who resurrected her life after coming to the United States. Like Cox, Magelli said he has "no doubt" that she has told the truth.

"Absolutely. Unquestionably," he said.

He said UI students from China have told him that the Cultural Revolution is a "forbidden topic" in their families. Nor do they learn about it in school or read about it in books.

"They learn about it when they come to America," he said. "Their parents and grandparents don't want to relive it. They don't want to revisit it. They want it to be forgotten history."

During his time at the Kauffman Foundation, Magelli was introduced to the editor of Inc. magazine, who was looking for candidates for Entrepreneur of the Year. Magelli suggested Fu, who had by then moved her company to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. She received that award in 2005, and others followed.

Of late, they've discussed the criticism of her biography. She described it as a "nightmare."

"She said, 'The last thing I want to be is a liar,'" Magelli said.

"She's a celebrity in the technology field these days," he said. "It's been very hard to have some of that diminished by some of these charges."

The last time Cox saw Fu was when Fu gave the keynote address for the College of Engineering commencement last May. They had dinner together, and Fu talked about the controversy and how it's affected her life.

"This has taken a bit of a toll on her — not being believed," she said. "I simply believe her and have no reason not to believe her."

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james w wrote on December 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm

There are many books about the Cultural Revolution in China, on Amazon and elsewhere, many are dedicated solely to exposing those dark days and discussing what we human can learn from it. 

Do you ever wonder why Ping Fu's story became the one attracted the most negative reviews?

If anyone told you that Cultural Revolution is a forbidden topic in China,

do you ever wonder why there are countless publications, research papers on this topic in China?

If you search with the keyword Cultural Revolution in Chinese, why do you see so many returns even by search engine in China?

Do you ever wonder why they are not filtered sensitive words.

If you believe PIng Fu is innocent, 

do you ever wonder why Ping Fu never seeks for law enforcement, legal action to crack down those "internet attacks"? Even when she claims that she received thousands of hate emails, attackers hacked Amazon system, and those are attacks sponsored by Chinese government?

There is even a new book on Amazon written solely to expose her lies:
http://www.amazon.com/Bent-Broken-Truth-Rags---Riches/dp/1491026154/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388169949&

W
hy do you think she did not take any legal action but to allow this to happen unchallenged?

All of those make me wonder:

Are you scientists in the academic area, even working in a university?

What do you tell your students the best way to find the fact and truth?

Is it speculation or investigation?

Do you go out of your field and teach in other departments about things you don't know but trust?

Then on what ground you have your believe that Ping Fu was telling truth about her past experience in China while you have no idea what was going on there?

Did you ever take a look at those exposed (via FOIA requests) fake experiences in her resume?

Is it because she claims: "The last thing I want to be is a liar"?

Do you expect con-artists to tell you that they want to be known as liar?

Did you notice that Ping Fu did not say: "The last thing I want IS TO LIE"?

 

USCitizen2 wrote on December 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

The Bent and Broken Truth: A Pathological Analysis of Ping Fu's Rags-to-Riches Stories

One Author's Note (Dr. Liangfu Wu)

 

I can never get rid of those images in my head, the images of those dark nights in 1966.

 

Several months after the Cultural Revolution began, my father vanished. Working for the Civil Aviation Administration, he was stationed in another city and usually came home for weekends. One weekend, he did not come home. Several weeks later, some young colleagues of his, known as members of the Rebellion Faction ( 造 反 派), came to our home searching for something. They pried open the floor and punched holes in the walls.

 

Every night, we waited for those Rebellion Faction members to knock on our door. Every time I fell asleep, the loud knock came. It made me feel that if I stayed awake, nobody would come. I was twelve years old.

 

They always came at night. The night visit was intended to create fear among us. We learned three years later that they were searching for evidence to prove that my father planned to commit treason.

 

They told my mother that our father was in the custody of the revolution committee, but they would not tell us what had happened to him, where he was, or how he was.

 

Why was my father accused of treason?

 

My father, Zidan Wu, was a pilot during World War II. He flew with the American pilots over the Himalayan Mountains, along the most dangerous air route at that time—known as the Hump Route. Since the Japanese troops had sealed all the Pacific coastal ports, this Hump Route was the only way to get military supplies to China. My father survived a crash in 1942.  However, many other American and Chinese pilots did not.

 

Because of his past association with the Americans, my father, along with many others who had similar backgrounds, was believed to have the potential to escape to Western countries simply because he knew how to fly an airplane.

 

That was treason!

 

What my family encountered during the Cultural Revolution only mirrored a small part of the tragedies that millions of other Chinese families suffered.

 

The Cultural Revolution ended thirty-seven years ago, and today, here comes Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, a memoir authored by a successful Chinese American businesswoman. The memoir offers a theme of contrasts, in which Ms.Ping Fu tells her stories of a dark childhood during the Cultural Revolution and her journey to become a successful entrepreneur in the United States.

 

Unfortunately, Ms. Fu's memoir contains so many fabricated stories that the book is an easy target for criticism. Even though the ghostwriter's work was beautifully done, many Chinese American readers who went through the Cultural Revolution and witnessed its tragic history can see through the fabrications easily. But for most American readers who have little knowledge of that period in China's history, the author's smartly catered fabrications have actually become the book's major selling points. With my vivid, indelible memory of those dark nights of the Cultural Revolution, I too can easily see through the fabrications of Ms. Fu and her ghostwriter.

 

My father was brutally beaten by those Rebellion Faction members in the beginning of his captivity. Two years later, he was sent to a prison in Beijing, kept among common criminals without any formal sentence. With a label reading "Political Prisoner" on his back, he became a target for other prisoners' abuse and daily beatings.

 

In 1968, to gain full control over China's airspace, Mao Zedong ordered the Civil Aviation Administration placed under military control. This meant that China's aviation industry and the government-owned airlines became paramilitary units. In a way, Mao saved my father's life: he was then transferred to a military prison in Inner Mongolia. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese military was pretty much kept out of the political and social turmoil.

 

This firsthand knowledge allows me to tell you that the campus of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where Ms. Fu grew up, could not have been run the way she described in her memoir. As part of the civil aviation industry under military control, that campus was relatively calm and peaceful.

 

Four years later, we learned that my father was still alive. When the news came, my mother almost fainted and fell. By the end of the Cultural Revolution, my father had spent six years in prison. As for me, I was sent at age sixteen to a remote mountain area to receive "reeducation" and to do hard farm work. I spent eight years of my youth there.

 

The Cultural Revolution was a very dark page in the book of human history.

 

Having carried such a dark and heavy history on my shoulders for many years, when I read Ms. Fu's memoir, I felt that those who truly suffered or perished during that dark age were being violated once again. I wonder how anyone can take advantage of human suffering for personal gain.

 

For most American readers, however, what is obviously untrue to me does not matter, as long as they enjoy the stories. Bend, Not Break has all the elements of the kind of story Americans love to believe and consider inspirational.

 

Yet, no fraud shall ever be allowed to masquerade as truth. I feel obligated to debunk the fabrications in Ms. Fu's memoir,

 

Later, as the whole world learned, Ms. Fu was actually a member of the Communist Youth League. This membership means that Ms. Fu was from a family that was politically privileged during the Cultural Revolution. This membership also means that Bend, Not Break may serve as a disguise for Ms. Fu to cover up her "red childhood."

 

This is why I, with many others, wanted to write this book. We wrote not to expose the fabrications in Ms. Fu's memoir but to preserve the memories of millions of true victims of the Cultural Revolution from being tarnished.

 

I wrote this book for my father!

 

Dr. Liangfu Wu

Downers Grove, Illinois

June 2013

 

--------------

 

Excerpt from:

The Bent and Broken Truth: A Pathological Analysis of Ping Fu's Rags-to-Riches Stories, a book by Dr. Liangfu Wu, Muriel Liu, Dr. Lanlan Wang, Jim M. Pu, and Jian Wang

 

Ms. Ping Fu, a former member of the Chinese Communist Youth League, portrays herself in her book, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, as a victim of the Chinese communist regime during the Cultural Revolution and fabricated her way to the White House. She lied on her applications for federal grant applications (yes, more than once) and made up rags-to-riches stories to move many Americans readers. With the protection of her public relation team and some American media, Ms. Ping Fu, as of today, continues her stories around the world. The book, The Bent and Broken Truth: A Pathological Analysis of Ping Fu's Rags-to-Riches Stories, peels off the seemingly glorious coat of a super survivor. To those who have read Bend, Not Break, this book should be an interesting read. It tells the truth behind Ms. Ping Fu's book.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bent-Broken-Truth-Rags-Riches/dp/1491026154/ref=cm...

L Wang wrote on December 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Thanks for this article, it represents the views shared by many of us. 

AprilSpringBreeze wrote on January 09, 2014 at 7:01 am

I don't understand why some American intellectuals can be fooled so easily. "Cultural Revolution" was well discussed in China in the past 30 years, and the Chinese government already claimed it as "Ten years holocaust", that is why China took a different direction and made tremendous progress both economically and politically in the past 30 years. You can do a simple google on "Cultural Revolution" to see how much information you can find. Why Ms. Ping Fu is the only one being criticized? Why didn't Ms. Ping Fu sue the critics of hers for defamation? ========================================= No one refutes Ms. Ping Fu harder than herself. Ms. Ping Fu's 1996 Chinese memoir Drifting Bottle was found in China, which directly debunks her English memoir Bend Not Break. Four of Ping Fu's resumes which were submitted by her for government job or grants were found through FOIA, which have several falsified degrees and job titles. Suzhou University released her college record including her own handwriting showing that Ping Fu was a member of Communist Youth Party and a lot other information that conflicts with Ping Fu's English memoir Bend Not Break. Many other documents were also found through FOIA which are contradict to Ms. Ping Fu's claims.

Ms. Ping Fu should answer the following questions:
- Why are the two memoirs of Ms. Ping Fu so contradictory?
- Why is Ms. Ping Fu's student record at Soochow (Suzhou) University so contradictory to her English memoir Bend Not Break?
- Why are Ms. Ping Fu's resumes so contradictory to her memoir Bend Not Break?

Please don't just call her critics names such as bullies, Internet terrorists, or Cultural Revolution Vigilantes. Please answer the above questions with facts and logic.  =========================================
You can find Ms. Ping Fu's own handwriting in her student record at Suzhou University:
http://www.debunkingbendnotbreak.com/2013/07/document-fu-pings-student-r...

In her English memoir, she wrote she didn't go to school from 8 to 18 years old during Cultural Revolution time, suffered so much that her stories put many readers in tears. But her college record with her own handwriting wshows that she went to school during that time, she was a class monitor in high school, and she was a member of Communist Youth League.  ========================================= You can find English translations of excerpts from Ping Fu's Chinese memoir here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/cd/discussion.html/ref=ntt_mus_ep_cd_tft_tp?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3IOKNOCJEH3E3&cdThread=Tx3CHH1B5MZ1P2
In Ms. Ping Fu's English memoir, she described herself as one who was separated from her parents, tortured, raped, assigned to work in factories instead of attending school from 8 to 18, and eventually was deported to the US. However, in her Chinese memoir, you will find she grew up in Nanjing with her birth parents happily and was well loved by her parents, went to school, never had to bear hardship in China, her hardest time was in America. Her American dream was broken by the hardship of real American life.

========================================= You can find Ping Fu's resumes here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/cd/discussion.html/ref=cm_cd_fp_ef_tft_tp...

Ms. Ping Fu didn't earn any degree from Suzhou University, but she put a BA and MA degree from Suzhou University in her resumes that she submitted for government funds. Her explanation: Typo!

 

=========================================


An example that Ms. Ping Fu fabricated her story:
 

Excerpts from Ms. Ping Fu's memoir Bend Not Break, pages 60-61 :[Santa Fe was an artistic city, and many Hollywood stars had second homes there. Linda Evans, John Wayne, and Miles Davis all came to our restaurant. I didn't know who any of these people were, so my boss often assigned me to wait on them, knowing that I wouldn't get star struck or ask for autographs.One night, a large, muscular man with dark hair and an asymmetrical face came into our restaurant. The boss told me to serve him.I approached the table. "What would you like to drink?" I asked.The man said nothing, but startled me by reaching around and grabbing my rear end with his enormous right hand. Without hesitating for a second, I slapped him on the cheek, hard. Then I gasped. What had I done? Surely the boss would fire me for such insolent behavior.The man sat quietly for a heartbeat, staring me straight in the eyes. Then he laughed and said: "Do it again".I raced back to the kitchen, still convinced, with my Chinese mentality, that I would lose my job. But everyone who had witnessed the event was cheering. "Ping, you slapped Rambo!" they squealed with delight. Even the boss, who had followed me to the back room, was chuckling. The customer, they told me, was Sylvester Stallone, a famous action hero.]
 Do you agree this story was fabricated? As far as I know, John Wayne died in 1979, five years before Ping Fu arrived in America. Sylvester Stallone is not "a large, muscular man with dark hair and an asymmetrical face". He does not have "enormous right hand" either. Many other Ping Fu's stories, such as being starved, being deported by China government, being finger checked for menstrual blood, being kidnapped the first day upon arrival in America ... , are just as preposterous as this one.
 
Some classmates of Ms. Ping Fu at Suzhow University said she was a smart girl who writes novels well, but please don't claim a novel to be her real life memoir.

 

=========================================


Another example of fabrication. Ping Fu did not see own face for 10 years, although she had photos from that period of time.

Except from pages 148 - 149, Bend Not Break:

"When my colleagues and I had finished making our first piece of metal mirror smooth, I caught sight in it of a perfect reflection of my face. We didn't have mirrors at home or around the dormitory -- Mao's Communism discouraged concern with one's physical appearance. This was the first reflection of myself that I had seen in a mirror in years. I was surprised that I looked all grown up. I recalled the well in the courtyard of my Shanghai family's home where I had gazed at myself before I was taken away. .... an unfinished child who had transformed into a proud and capable worker as an adult"

When I read this part, I had to stop, I could not stand it. She claimed she was taken away from Shanghai at 8 years old, now she is 18, for 10 years she did not take a look of her own face. Wow!

I don't want to argue that Nanjing is one of the top 10 most prosperous cities in China that it would not be hard to find a mirror outside of home. I don't want to argue that why she couldn't afford a mirror but she had a bike (In her book, Ping Fu wrote that she had a bike. Back then in China owning a bike is like today in America owning a BMW car, but a small mirror only cost a few cents). I don't want to argue that why she did not take a look of herself when she visited her friend's home...... Just look at the photos in her book. There are three photos which were taken between her 8 to 18 years old. How could she not see her own face for 10 YEARS?!

Many people have already read or heard that Ms. Ping Fu did not go to school from 8 to 18 years old, which was proved not true. Here she even did not see her own face for 10 years, but she kept teenager age photos. Do you believe that? Go figure.

 ========================================= Here a few critics of Ping Fu stated their motivation of involvement with this controversy:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/cd/discussion.html/ref=ntt_mus_ep_cd_tft_...

Paula250 wrote on January 13, 2014 at 3:01 pm

When I searched the Internet on "Ping Fu", most comments are to disclose Ping Fu's inconsistencies, contradictions among her own words, and the stories that she made up. I didn't find many people supporting Ping Fu. I hate to use the word "liar", but many people just directly called Ping Fu that.

Can you explain Ping Fu's non existing BA and MA degrees from Suzhou University which Ping Fu put in her resumes? Can you explain her profiles include a Ph.D. degree while she never earned a Ph.D. degree? The truth is, Ping Fu made up all these none existing degrees.

==========================================

Excerpts from Ms. Ping Fu's memoir Bend Not Break, pages 60-61 :
[Santa Fe was an artistic city, and many Hollywood stars had second homes there. Linda Evans, John Wayne, and Miles Davis all came to our restaurant. I didn't know who any of these people were, so my boss often assigned me to wait on them, knowing that I wouldn't get star struck or ask for autographs.
One night, a large, muscular man with dark hair and an asymmetrical face came into our restaurant. The boss told me to serve him.
I approached the table. "What would you like to drink?" I asked.
The man said nothing, but startled me by reaching around and grabbing my rear end with his enormous right hand. Without hesitating for a second, I slapped him on the cheek, hard. Then I gasped. What had I done? Surely the boss would fire me for such insolent behavior.
The man sat quietly for a heartbeat, staring me straight in the eyes. Then he laughed and said: "Do it again".
I raced back to the kitchen, still convinced, with my Chinese mentality, that I would lose my job. But everyone who had witnessed the event was cheering. "Ping, you slapped Rambo!" they squealed with delight. Even the boss, who had followed me to the back room, was chuckling. The customer, they told me, was Sylvester Stallone, a famous action hero.]
Do you agree this story was fabricated? As far as I know, John Wayne died in 1979, five years before Ping Fu arrived in America. Sylvester Stallone is not "a large, muscular man with dark hair and an asymmetrical face". He does not have "enormous right hand" either. Many other Ping Fu's stories, such as being starved, being deported by China government, being finger checked for menstrual blood, being kidnapped the first day upon arrival in America ... , are just as preposterous as this one.

Some classmates of Ms. Ping Fu at Soochow University said she was a smart girl who writes novels well, but please don't claim a novel to be her real life memoir.

==========================================

Except from pages 148 - 149, Bend Not Break:"When my colleagues and I had finished making our first piece of metal mirror smooth, I caught sight in it of a perfect reflection of my face. We didn't have mirrors at home or around the dormitory -- Mao's Communism discouraged concern with one's physical appearance. This was the first reflection of myself that I had seen in a mirror in years. I was surprised that I
looked all grown up. I recalled the well in the courtyard of my Shanghai family's home where I had gazed at myself before I was taken away. .... an unfinished child who had transformed into a proud and capable worker as an adult"When I read this part, I had to stop, I could not stand it. She claimed she was taken away from Shanghai at 8 years old, now she is 18, for 10 years she did not take a look of her own face. Wow!I don't want to argue that Nanjing is one of the top 10 most prosperous cities in China that it would not be hard to find a mirror outside of home. I don't want to argue that why she couldn't afford a mirror but she had a bike (In her book, Ping Fu wrote that she had a bike. Back then in China owning a bike is like today in America owning a BMW car, but a small mirror only cost a few cents). I don't want to argue that why she did not take a look of herself when she visited her friend's home...... Just look at the photos in her book. There are three photos which were taken between her 8 to 18 years old. How could she not see her own face for 10 YEARS?!Many people have already read or heard that Ms. Ping Fu did not go to school from 8 to 18 years old. Here she even did not see her own face for 10 years, but she kept teenager age photos. Do you believe that? I don't.

==========================================

Here is a list of media reports on the controversy about Ping Fu's book and interviews

Bloomberg: "Ping Fu's Book Isn't Worth Joe Nocera" By Adam Minter (Jun 30, 2013)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-30/

ping-fu-s-book-isn-t-worth-joe-nocera.html

THE GUARDIAN: "Ping Fu's childhood tales of China's cultural revolution spark controversy" by Tania Branigan and Ed Pilkington (2/13/13):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/13/ping-fu-controversy-china-cultural-revolution

FORBES: "'Bend, Not Break' Author Ping Fu Responds To Backlash" by Jenna Goudreau (1/31/13):
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau /2013/01/31/bend-not-break-author-ping-fu-responds-to-backlash/

THE TELEGRAPH: "Doubts over Chinese author lauded by Michelle Obama" by Felicity Capon (2/5/13):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9849838/Doubts-over-Chinese-author-lauded-by-Michelle-Obama.html

International Herald Tribune: "True or False? The Tussle Over Ping Fu's Memoir" (2/20/13):
http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ 02/20/true-or-false-the-tussle-over-ping-fus-memoir/

The New York Times: "Ensnared in the Trap of Memory" (2/21/13):
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/world/asia/21iht-letter21.html?_r=0

'Heartbroken' author Ping Fu willing to apologise for inaccuracies in memoir
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1272932/heartbroken-author-ping-fu-willing-apologise-inaccuracies-memoir Ping Fu Is Latest Memoirist Caught In Web Of Exaggeration And Mistruth by Alicia (Feb. 6, 2013)
http://beijingcream.com/2013/02/ping-fu-is-latest-memoirist-caught-in-web-of-exaggeration-and-mistruth/

Disgraced Author Ping Fu Almost Apologizes (Again) For Memoir Inaccuracies by Alicia (July 2, 2013)
http://beijingcream.com/2013/07/ping-fu-almost-apologizes-for-memoir-inaccuracies/

Why is Ping Fu the only "victim"? by Christine (June 30, 2013)
http://shanghaishiok.com/2013/06/30/why-is-ping-fu-the-only-victim/