Jonathan Lee, 13, poses with banner, which he later later paraded in Beijing. Photograph: Christina Hu/Reuters13-year-old carted away by police after attempt to get Chinese president's attention
A 13-year-old American boy campaigning to turn the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea into a peace park tried to get the Chinese president's attention today, by staging a brief protest near Tiananmen Square before being led away by police.
Jonathan Lee unfurled a sign reading "peace treaty" and "nuclear free DMZ children's peace forest" as he stood outside Tiananmen Gate just north of the square in central Beijing. After being held for a few hours the boy, whose father is Korean-born, and his mother returned to their hotel.
The square remains one of the most tightly controlled public spaces in China.
Less than a minute after Lee began his demonstration, a man presumed to be a plainclothes police officer grabbed the boy's sign and waved away watching journalists, who had been contacted by Lee's family ahead of time. Uniformed police then hurriedly escorted Lee and his mother away without commotion.
Police held the pair and a few hours later the boy and his mother, Melissa Lee, returned to their hotel where they were joined by his father and sister. The family arrived unaccompanied at Beijing airport tonightMonday evening to catch a Korean Airlines flight to Seoul, but declined to comment to the Associated Press.
The Lees' treatment by Chinese authorities was relatively mild compared with the often rough handling and swift, forced deportation given to most foreigners who try to stage protests in China. It was not clear if they were forced to leave the country or had already planned to do so.
The boy, from Ridgeland, Mississippi, is trying to persuade the leaders of North and South Korea, China and the US to work for reunification of the two Koreas.
"Hopefully my picketing will touch them in a way, so they'll really consider peace, you know, between North and South Korea," the boy said on Friday to Joel Clark, a documentary filmmaker who travelled to China with the Lees.
"I guess I'm just trying to do, you know, what God would want, making peace."
His Korean-born father, Kyoung Lee, said in a written statement today that his son has sent letters to Barack Obama and South Korean president Lee Myung-bak but had not been able to give a letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao. That, the father said, made the Tiananmen protest necessary.I find this terribly endearing for some reason. The kid has guts.
source: the guardian