Peace Prize Scrapped

Chinese authorities shut down an internationally ridiculed award one year after its launch.

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peaceprize-305.jpg A young girl accepts the Confucius peace prize for former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan in Beijing, Dec. 9, 2010.

Culture ministry officials in Beijing have disbanded a group which set up what was billed as the Chinese equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, scrapping the prize, which was only awarded once, ahead of the December 2010 award ceremony in Oslo for jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The organizers of the Confucius Peace Prize, who awarded the prize to former Taiwan vice-president Lien Chan in his absence, two days ahead of Liu's controversial award, have now been told by the ministry that they lack official permission to promote the event.

The Beijing-based Association of Chinese Local Art said the group that had organized last year's prize has been disbanded.

The prize has now been scrapped, and this year's prize will no longer be offered, the group said without giving a reason.

Among the nominees for this year's award, announced at a press conference earlier this month, were the Beijing-backed Panchen Lama and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Nobel controversy

Liu's 2010 Nobel prize was awarded in absentia to Liu Xiaobo, who was represented at the ceremony by an empty chair, sparking a furious reaction from Beijing.

The award sparked a nationwide clampdown on anyone having a connection with Liu or the Charter 08 blueprint for political reform, which he co-authored.

Chinese police imposed tight restrictions on Liu's immediate family, along with a number of prominent rights activists linked to the jailed dissident.

Beijing stepped up pressure on political activists around the country when Liu, currently serving an 11-year jail term for subversion, was named the Nobel prize recipient.

Prize ridiculed

Last year's Confucius Prize was accepted by an unidentified small girl, as Lien Chan was unable to make the trip to Beijing.

Lili Yang of the U.S.-based Laogai Research Foundation said the prize had always been viewed as somewhat ridiculous.

"This prize has been tainted with politics since its inception," she said. "Its originators wanted to counter the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo last year."

But Yang said the prize had struggled to find an identity beyond that.

"It was being hung on the same peg with Hu Jintao's ideas for promoting social harmony and so forth," she said. "Too bad that they have bungled everything they have done in the past couple of years."

Reported by Xi Wang for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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Sep 30, 2011 02:27 AM

China wants to be part of the world but doesn't want to comply w/ int'l norms about human rights. The CCP's human rights policies are very backward & getting worse every year. If China wants to be respected, it must improve human rights in China, Tibet & Xinjiang.

Oct 05, 2011 03:10 AM

The so-called "Confucius Peace Prize" was an instrument for the PRC's Leninist authoritarian rulers to lash out at the Nobel Prize Committee in retaliation for the latter's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. This impulsive and furious reaction from the CCP leaders was widely ridiculed, as might be expected of such a clumsy and transparently political gesture. Moreover, the awardee, Lian Zhan, openly indicated that he had not been informed of winning this prize, and indicated that he was not interested in receiving such a prize. No wonder the prize has been withdrawn. This is yet another public relations disaster for the Hu-Wen CCP leadership.