Young man receives email from Obama explaining US unemployment


Chongqing Times, December 20, 2010

Today’s Chongqing Times goes with the headline that a residential district in Chongqing claimed over 200,000 yuan in five years from its open-air parking lot. At the end of the year each home owner was given 100 yuan.

The main top bar is a picture of President Obama with the news that he had responded to a Chinese guy who wrote to him. The full story is at Beijing Times (京华时报):

Chinese guy’s suggestions get a response from Obama

by Xu Ran (徐冉) / Beijing Times

On the evening of December 15, a young teacher names Dee Woo (吴迪) arrived in his apartment after work, and opened his email inbox. An email with the subject line “Presidential Correspondence” immediately grabbed his attention. When he opened the email, he saw that it was from Barack Obama. Dee Woo knew then that he had finally received a reply for his letter to the American president.

Two years ago, Dee Woo achieved a Masters in Business and Economics from Manchester University in the UK, after his return he began teaching economics at a private school in Beijing. Because of the relationship between his work and economics, Woo maintained his habit of reading the Wall Street Journal and Business Week and other western media. In September this year, Woo noticed a new trend in these mainstream media, which was blaming China’s trade and exchange rate policy for low employment in the US and other financial problems. Woo also found that the majority of American people agreed with this kind of analysis, and he started to worry that this situation would end up isolating China, and that anti-China sentiment will rise in the American masses. If the US continued to pass limiting policies on Chinese economics, then its effect will be too big to measure.

At this point, Dee Woo started wondering what he could do. He decided to use his own knowledge of the economy to prove that blaming China for America’s financial problems is wrong, and he planned to tell President Obama about the findings of his research.

Woo logged onto the websites of the US Department of Commerce, Trade Association, Congressional Committee on the Budget, looking for the data and reports that he needed. In 20 days, he used his spare time to analyze this data. At the beginning of October, Woo’s research saw results. Through analysis, he found three things: Number one, the US economy has problems not because of any single country’s trade and currency exchange rate, but low saving rates year in year out; number two, growth in employment in the US came from the development of capital products and service products, but these products are mainly fed into China’s manufacturing industries. If China increases the yuan exchange currency, and the manufacturing industry is attacked, then US employment will be hindered; number three, the status of the dollar is derived from American finances and manufacturing, and the lack of balance in resources is one of the origins of unemployment.

Therefore, Dee Woo suggested a currency and trade war between the US and China would be a shock to both countries.

Dee Woo presented his findings in a letter to Obama, and submitted it via the President’s Mailbox link on the White House website. Woo also found the email addresses of the Secretaries for Commerce and the Treasury, asking them to send the letter to Obama. At the same time, he pitched his letter to the Wall Street Journal op-ed section. “At the time I thought, I’m an everyday citizen, this letter will be passed around all kinds of secretaries and departments, and I didn’t know if Obama would see my letter.”

As Dee Woo anxiously waited for a reply, the editor of the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal emailed to say that he very much liked Woo’s report. On October 8, Woo’s article “The U.S. Will Lose a China Trade War” was published on the A19 section of the paper. The effect of the article was good, and it made Woo see the hope that Obama would read his letter.

On December 15, which was a normal Wednesday, Dee Woo returned to his apartment after work, and when he saw at the bottom of an email, “Yours sincerely, Barack Obama,” he was shocked. Afterward he read the reply carefully. Obama mainly answered questions about employment in America and reform of Wall Street. Woo said that he thought Obama didn’t address his ideas on the trade war out of the need for keep these things a secret.

“In the past, I thought that I was only a grassroots citizen, and that my views would not affect the world at all. Even though it’s impossible to exalt your country, we can try our best.” Dee Woo sees the letter exchange as a kind of citizen diplomacy. He thinks that citizen diplomacy is unofficial but has high flexibility, and can be an asset to official diplomacy. He hopes that more people will contribute to the country’s diplomacy.


One of the other headlines on the paper responds to the weird internet reposting of a driving license of a westerner from Shenzhen who named himself Ho Sai Lei (好厉害), which translated means “Really Awesome.”

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