World

Shoe thrown at China's premier during Cambridge speech

A protester threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a speech at Cambridge University on Monday, but the Chinese leader was unhurt, according to witnesses and video footage of the event.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrives to deliver a speech at Cambridge University in England on Monday. ((Darren Staples/Associated Press))
A protester threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a speech at Cambridge University on Monday, but the Chinese leader was unhurt, according to witnesses and video footage of the event.

The protester was sitting at the back of a crowded auditorium as Wen was speaking on the global economy.

The man threw the shoe after standing and shouting: "How can this university prostitute itself with this dictator here? How can you listen to the lies he's telling without saying anything?"

The shoe missed Wen by about a metre, according to witnesses at the event. The protester, whose identity was not yet released, was restrained by university security guards.

Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman Shelly Spratt said a man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and was taken to a local police station for questioning.

A security guard picks up a shoe that was thrown toward Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University on Monday. ((Darren Staples/Associated Press))

The incident comes just two months after an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at then U.S. president George W. Bush at the beginning of a news conference during his last visit to Iraq.

TV journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, 29, has been hailed as a hero in the Arab world, where throwing one's shoe is considered a severe insult.

He has been detained since the December incident and could be imprisoned for 15 years if convicted on charges of insulting a foreign leader.

Al-Zaidi's family has alleged he has been severely tortured while in detention, a claim strongly denied by the Iraqi government.

With files from the Associated Press