That Thomas Friedman column in full


Memorandum [Flagged as Very Important]

To: China’s President, Dr. Martin Luther Yongkang

From: A long-time friend and Starwood Hotels Premier Guest

Dear Premier Wen, 

Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland

In recent years, I’ve approvingly watched as the global investment community between China and the US has afforded our great countries a position that allows me to uniquely understand both.

And yet, I’ve always remained on the sidelines. Even though I have wanted to see both of us succeed, it’s simply in everyone’s best interests – both in Beijing and Washington– that I just get on with writing my weekly column. Anyone who says otherwise is simply Paul Krugman.

And yet Mr. Krugman’s fate is – if I may say so – inescapably intertwined with both mine and yours. If the New York Times is evicted from your country, so are Mssrs. Krugman and myself – and obviously, so is any future hope for China. And I can honestly say I would hate to see that happen.

Which is why I must finally speak up to finally ask: what happened, Mr. President, to our unspoken deal? What? Happened?

President Wang… according to my notes, the websites of both the Harvard Review of Books and the Thomas Friedman Center of Excellence in Sinology are blocked in your country.

Taxi drivers in China tell me this is in “retaliation” for remarks that I may or may not have once made regarding a late-night establishment in the Pudong area, in respect of the fiduciary value of certain services supposedly offered by someone I had – at one point – previously considered a friend when we met some hours before.

Sir. Mr President. If I may – Sir Mr. President.

If a red light has been crossed, it is surely by the concierge who first approached me as I quietly mused to myself in the hotel bar? By any standards of decency, clearly it is this fellow, purporting to offer a stranger friendly succor, who must pay the piper – or, to use your unique lexicon – “strum the zither?”

I come to you now, not as an award-winning writer and columnist; not as an American; not as an economist; but as a friend. To say simply this – sir, you are a making a mistake.

I don’t believe you consulted me about your decision. But by gosh, if you had first consulted me, also know this: I would probably have completely agreed with you. That’s the most frustrating part.

Now we find ourselves in Limbo. I can only remind you what I told your assistant in February and again last week: that you can add me on WeChat. Just go to ‘Connections’ and scroll up to the top-right hand button; hold down ‘Add contact,’ then, when the menu comes up, input my cell number under ‘ID Search’ and press return to send a friend request, which I’ll readily accept… we’re good to go. Sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? Oddly enough, I actually fired off a column to Jack Mo on this very subject only a few days. Worryingly, though, I have yet to hear back from him

Yours ever,


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