China’s so-called ‘Eagle Dad’ is about to hit world headlines again, this time after a trip to Japan with his son.
Having previously come to the attention of the world’s media for acts of extreme parenthood such as forcing his son to run through the snowy streets of wintry New York in only his underpants, Eagle Dad, real name He Liesheng, insists his boy needs to be toughened up the hard way.
This time, his plan was to use his harsh methods ‘for the greater good’: to score diplomatic points against Japan by travelling to Japan to unfurl a banner laying claim to the Daioyu islands (known as Senkaku in Japan) – at the 3,776 metre summit of Mt. Fuji.
But young Duoduo, the man’s son, is just four years old and not quite equipped for off season Fuji climbing.
The party’s patriotic plan was almost foiled by rangers who told the man climbing was forbidden to all but experienced climbers after an early September cut-off but, determined to achieve glory with his ‘masterplan’, Eagle Dad climbed over the barriers and onwards towards the peak.
With his long-suffering son (who was born prematurely with an illness Liesheng feels harsh parenting will help exorcize) and older sister Tiantian in tow, it was not far before trouble hit. The Times newspaper reports Liesheng as saying, “unlike a lot of Chinese mountains, Mount Fuji does not have steps.”
That was not his only oversight – with only a couple of chocolate bars for sustenance, he had assumed noodle bars would welcome him and he had seemingly not considered the possibility of shelters being boarded up for winter, their owners long descended to the comfort of their permanent homes.
Altitude sickness struck, and at around 3,400 metres, the seventh stage of Fuji and with hours of grueling climbing behind them in almost freezing conditions, it fell to the Japanese park rangers to rescue the party, and perhaps dent Eagle Dad’s pride.
Pictures show a banner being unfurled by the boy, who had been given a hat and gloves after, incredibly, his father had not deemed them necessary, but it seems not quite to have been the diplomatic coup hoped for.
Proclaiming the young climber – and indeed China’s strength – though with no specific reference to any disputed islands, the red and gold flag will certainly not have cheered the boy as much as the warm food which reportedly restored the colour of his cheeks.