I am shocked, heartbroken and deeply saddened by the smear campaign that is taking place against me personally and my book, Bend, Not Break, which was published on Dec. 31, 2012.
It took six years of personal exploration and encouragement from friends to summon up the courage to publicly share my life story. It is a story about a life lived in two worlds: China and America. It tells of one person's journey from nobody to somebody. It reflects how my past experiences influenced who I am today and how I make decisions as an entrepreneur. It is a story about resilience.
Bend, Not Break has received many wonderful reviews. Unfortunately, the book generated an attack by an influential Chinese blogger, Mr. Fang Zhouzi, who challenged me primarily based on an article that appeared on Forbes.com. Fang's piece generated a storm of negative reviews and fierce criticisms. I reached out to Forbes, asking them to correct a few facts and translation errors. Since then, many personal attacks have been posted and continue to appear on Amazon, Barnes and Noble's website, as well as on other articles and the Wikipedia page about me. Most of these comments appear to be made by people who copy and paste their remarks from previous postings.
I understand that although many Chinese people lived through the Cultural Revolution as I did, everyone has their individual experience of what happened during that decade, just as everyone has their individual experience of their life today. Their life circumstances may very well be different from mine; all experiences are equally valid.
Bend, Not Break is not a book about "poor Ping Fu." It is not my attempt at garnering sympathy. Nor is it an attempt to bash China. I intend the book to give people hope. I want to show readers who are stuck, facing difficulties, and feeling obstacles are insurmountable, that there is a way to a better life. I wrote this book not as a selfish, self-promotional act, but rather as an act of generosity. I genuinely believe that my story has the potential to help people -- young people, entrepreneurs, career mothers, and others who might be struggling to come to terms with their own lives. Also, I wrote this book for my daughter, who just turned 18 and went to college. I want her to know the story in my own words.
Finally, I wrote Bend, Not Break because I didn't have a voice when I was little. I was not free to express my opinions, and even my journals where I recorded my private thoughts were burned. I was told repeatedly that I was a nobody. In writing this book, I speak out on behalf of that frightened, lonely young girl who had the courage to survive.
Ironically, this is exactly what my attackers are making me feel again: that I am nobody, that I have no right to speak my truth. It carries me back to my youth and makes me relive the emotional abuse of my childhood. I try to stay strong. I tell myself that I have a voice now. I live in the United States of America, where I have a right to share my story freely. This incident makes me appreciate democracy and freedom of speech even more.
For this I am called a traitor to China? I am no traitor. It was a journey for me to realize that my childhood experience did not define China, but I made my peace with that long ago. I understand that China has a long history and rich culture, and that most Chinese people are kind-hearted.
But this smear campaign reveals the dark side of China. Who is anyone to say that this is not my life and not my experience? They demonstrate a willingness to treat other people with anger and abuse, rather than with love and compassion. I'm so sad to see this.
I don't know what to say. I'm traumatized by this smear campaign because it is the polar opposite of what Bend, Not Break is about and what I intended when I wrote it. I wrote it to inspire by illustrating, in some small way, how resilience, compassion, generosity, trust and love led me to a better life. In return, I have received mistrust, criticisms, accusations, hatred, anger and denial. I am deeply hurt, but I will not be broken.
I am human. This is a human story. I have made mistakes in my life, as have we all. That doesn't make the story untrue.
This is my life. I carry the scars. This is my story. I tell it, authentically, in the book.