Confucius Peace Prize
|Confucius Peace Prize|
|Awarded for||Promotion of world peace from an Eastern, Confucian perspective; to declare China's view on peace and human rights to the world|
|Date||December 9, 2010|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Presented by||Private committee|
|Currently held by||Fidel Castro|
|Confucius Peace Prize|
The Confucius Peace Prize (simplified Chinese: 孔子和平奖; traditional Chinese: 孔子和平獎; pinyin: Kǒngzǐ Hépíngjiǎng) is a prize established in 2010 in the People's Republic of China (PRC) in response to a proposal by business person Liu Zhiqin on November 17, 2010. The chairman of the committee said that the award existed to "promote world peace from an Eastern perspective", and Confucian peace specifically. The winner receives a cash prize of ¥100,000 RMB (US$15,000). Despite an announcement in September 2011 that the prize would no longer be awarded, the China International Peace Research Center awarded the prize to Vladimir Putin in November 2011 and to Kofi Annan and Yuan Longping in 2012.
The Confucius Peace Prize originated as a response to the announcement that Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo had won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize; the awarding of the prize to Liu was viewed negatively in China, with some in the government arguing that Liu did not promote "international friendship, disarmament, and peace meetings", the stated goals of the Nobel Peace Prize.
According to The New York Times, Liu Zhiqin, a Chinese banker, was the first to propose the prize in a commentary in the Global Times. Liu's commentary stated, "The Nobel Peace Prize Committee won Liu Xiaobo while losing the trust of 1.3 billion Chinese people. They support a criminal while creating 1.3 billion 'dissidents' that are dissatisfied with the Nobel Committee, which is definitely a bad decision. ... China's civil society should consider setting up a 'Confucius Peace Prize,' launching the evaluation and selection and finding the real Peace Prize winners from all over the world. This is the best opportunity for the Chinese to declare China's view in peace and human rights to the world."
The Association of Chinese Indigenous Arts, which is registered with the Chinese Cultural Ministry. awarded the first prize to Taiwanese politician Lien Chan in December 2010. Lien never claimed the prize. China's Minister of Culture talked to the United Daily News in Taipei and stated they had never heard of this prize for Lien Chan until there was newspaper coverage. The Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported that the letter issued by the committee to Lien Chan did not have the Ministry of Culture's official seal.
Purported cancellation and second award
In September 2011, the Ministry of Culture stated that it would be disbanding the organizers of Confucius Peace Prize and cancelling the prize. The Ministry stated in a news conference on September 17 that there was improper uses of the Ministry's name. The Chinese Folk Art Association was quick to blame a "rogue department" for the debacle surrounding the award.
Despite the cancellation, on November 15, 2011, The Guardian reported that the original organizers had formed a new committee, the China International Peace Studies Center, in Hong Kong, where they awarded the second Confucius Peace Prize to Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. Other contenders were Angela Merkel, Bill Gates, Jacob Zuma, Kofi Annan, Yuan Longping, Gyaincain Norbu (one of the Panchen Lamas), and Soong Chu-yu. Putin won for his opposition to NATO involvement in the Libyan Civil War as well as his decision to go to war in Chechnya in 1999. According to the committee, Putin's "Iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot, and he was regarded to be capable of bringing safety and stability to Russia." Putin was also praised for fulfilling his childhood dream of joining the KGB. The 2011 award, a gilded statuette of Confucius was given out on December 9 along with a certificate, although the committee did not mention a cash prize. The award ceremony featured a speech by Kong Qingdong. Kong claimed that the award accurately reflects Confucius’s original vision of peace.
Later history, 2012–present
The shortlist for the 2012 award consisted of previous nominees Kofi Annan, Bill Gates, agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, and Gyancain Norbu, as well as Ban Ki-moon, Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Chinese philosopher Tang Yijie, and Wang Dingguo, the last surviving female participant in Mao Zedong's Long March. Due to a tie in the voting, the committee announced that Kofi Annan and Yuan Longping would share the award. Zen master Yi Cheng was awarded the 2013 prize for his work as chairman of the Buddhist Association of China and his contribution for Chinese Buddhism.
Response to Confucius Peace Prize
The Confucius Peace Prize's first winner was former Vice President of the Republic of China and Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan, for his contribution to developing positive ties between Taiwan and mainland China. Lien Chan did not attend the award ceremony in Beijing and had not officially heard that he had won; an aide said that they had only received "secondhand information from journalists". This contradicted a statement in the Global Times by the chairman of the Confucius Peace Prize Committee, Tan Liuchang, that Lien had been contacted by the committee. Tsai Chi-chang, a spokesperson for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, said the award should not be taken seriously. The award, consisting of a small sculpture and a bundle of 1,000 banknotes, was collected by a young girl in front of an audience of some 100 journalists.
Officials from the Taiwanese government are reported to have found the award of the Confucius Peace Prize to Lien Chan "amusing". When asked by a reporter about the prize, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said that he had heard about the award through the press, but that "we do not know much about the prize."
The Economist compared the substitute award to the reaction by Nazi Germany and the creation of the German National Prize for Art and Science after Carl von Ossietzky was prohibited from accepting his Nobel Prize in 1935, as well as the Soviet Union preventing Andrei Sakharov from accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. National Review likewise compared the prize to Hitler's and Stalin's responses to the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Global Times reported that the five 2011 nominees were selected based on their being the winners of an online poll. However, when asked about the details of the online vote, the organizer said they failed to carry it out because of "technical problems", The South China Morning Post reported.
The 2014 recipient of the prize was Fidel Castro, stating that "When Castro was the leader of Cuba, he never used any violence or force when faced with problems and conflicts in international relations, especially in Cuba's relationship with the United States."
- 2010 – Lien Chan
- 2011 – Vladimir Putin
- 2012 – Kofi Annan and Yuan Longping
- 2013 – Yi Cheng (一诚)
- 2014 – Fidel Castro
- 2015 – Robert Mugabe
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- Edward Wong (11 December 2014). "China's Defiant Choice for Its Peace Prize: Castro". The New York Times.
- Jay Nordlinger (11 December 2014). "The Corner: Fidel Castro's Perfect Peace Prize". National Review Online.
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