American boy, 13, held over protest

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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 Hu Jintao's attention yesterday, staging a protest near Tiananmen Square before being led away by police.

Jonathan Lee, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, unfurled a sign saying "Peace treaty" and "Nuclear-free DMZ children's peace forest" as he stood just north of the square. The scene of numerous demonstrations, the square remains one of the most tightly controlled public spaces in China.

A man grabbed the boy's sign and waved away journalists. Uniformed police officers then hurriedly escorted Jonathan and his mother away. Police held the pair and a few hours later the boy and his mother, Melissa Lee, returned to their hotel. The family then went to Beijing airport to catch a flight to South Korea.

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