Remember Jonathan Lee? He's the teenage American activist who traveled to North Korea last summer on a mission of peace. Well, he's not done protesting yet. The 13-year-old from Mississippi staged a brief protest in Beijing today, before being stopped by police: US teen protests in Beijing for NKorea peace park.
In attempted to get the Chinese president's attention, Jonathan unfurled a sign saying "peace treaty" and "nuclear free DMZ children's peace forest" at the gate outside Tiananmen Square, but was quickly thwarted by a plainclothes police officer:
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. Three or four uniformed police officers then hurriedly escorted Lee and his mother away without commotion.I don't know what kind of nonsense was on my mind when I was thirteen years old. But I certainly wasn't thinking about democracy and demilitarized zones.
Police held the pair and a few hours later Lee and his mother, Melissa Lee, returned to their hotel where they were joined by the boy's father and sister. The family arrived unaccompanied at Beijing airport Monday 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.
As I've said before, you have to admire the kid's bold idealism, and his willingness to just do something about this sensitive geopolitical situation. It's hard to fathom the actions of one young teen making a difference against the stark reality of nukes and land mines. But it's more than most of us ever accomplish or even try.