Confucius Peace Prize ceremony in Beijing comes off as a farce

Confucius Peace Prize

The Confucius Peace Prize was created by China to mock the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Image: CC Ivan Walsh/Flickr

The Confucius Peace Prize is an attempt by China to invalidate the Nobel Peace Prize. When Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, China denounced the award and kept Liu in prison. China held a Confucius Peace Prize ceremony Thursday — the day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony — but the winner didn’t show.

Why China concocted the Confucius Peace Prize

The Confucius Peace Prize was conceived by a group of Chinese academics amid the furor over Liu Xiaobo, who was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Price in October. The Beijing government referred to Liu as a criminal and called his selection a desecration of the award. Liu, a hero who emerged from the Tiananmen Square massacre, has been incarcerated off and on since 1989. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence and will miss Friday’s Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

And the winner is …

The winner of the first Confucius Peace Prize is Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party. Nominees included President Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates and Yuan Longping, a Chinese scientist known as the “father of hybrid rice.” Known to be friendly to Beijing, the “Confucius Committee” chose Lien for his “contribution to the bridge of peace” between China and Taiwan. China considers Taiwan a rogue province, and often threatens to take it back by force. When asked about his reaction to receiving the award, Lien said he had never heard of it and had no plans to accept either the Confucius Peace Prize or the $15,000 cash that comes with it. A glass trophy and a wad of cash wrapped in a bow was handed to a six-year-old girl.

What would Confucius think?

The Confucius Peace Prize ceremony in Beijing was a farce. The audience was mostly foreign reporters. A booklet was distributed with an opening paragraph stating that China “should have a greater voice on the issue of world peace,” and “Norway is only a small country with scarce land area and population.” When reporters pressed the chairman of the Confucius Committee with questions about Liu Xiaobo, he refused to mention his name, calling him the man “with the three-character name.” One of the judges started shouting that Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize yet is currently holding military exercises with South Korea off the Chinese coast.


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