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Ping Fu, co-founder of software company Geomagic, recently had a rollercoaster ride in the media spotlight with the release of her new book Bend Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, a memoir that documents her misery in China and rise to glory in the United States. In China she was initially seen as an example of how social environments can break or make a person. To her US readers, she was a symbol of the American Dream.
Her story soon caught the attention of myth-buster Fang Zhouzi who started to expose the inaccuracies in her account. She also aroused the suspicions of Chinese people living in the US, especially those with first hand experience of the times she described. Within days, Fu fell from being lauded as a heroine to being vilified as a liar.
Indeed, based on published reports and interviews, her stories do not agree with each other. For instance, after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services named her "Outstanding American by Choice" in 2012, Fu was interviewed by China News, and she was profiled in this interview as "a graduate student majoring in comparative literature" whose "competence in languages" led her to study computer languages. In her new book she said she could only say three words in English when she first came to the US. Other reports show that she obtained her permanent residence in the US by seeking political asylum. At that time, she probably felt she had to justify her application with persecution stories like those described in the book.