Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Boy, 13 stages peace park protest

A 13-year-old American boy campaigning to turn the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea into a peace park was taken away by Chinese police after staging a brief protest near Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Jonathan Lee unfurled a sign saying "Peace treaty" and "Nuclear- free DMZ children's peace forest" as he stood outside the Forbidden City.

A man believed to be a plain-clothes officer grabbed the teenager's sign less than a minute later and waved away journalists who had been contacted by the boy's family ahead of the event.

Jonathan and his mother, from Ridgeland, Mississippi, were then escorted away by police.

Jonathan made a rare visit to Pyongyang in August to propose his idea of a "children's peace forest" in the demilitarised zone.

It was unclear where police took the pair. A documentary film maker who accompanied the Lee family to Beijing said afterwards that he did not know where they were.

The Tiananmen protest was part of an ongoing effort by Jonathan to try to persuade the leaders of North and South Korea, China and the United States 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," he said in an interview with the documentary maker. "I guess I'm just trying to do, you know, what God would want, making peace."

Jonathan's father, Kyoung Lee, said in a written statement that his son has sent letters to US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak but had not been able to give a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

That, Mr Lee said, made the Tiananmen protest necessary.


From Belfast Telegraph