China will award its answer to the Nobel Peace Prize a day before it is bestowed upon jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, giving the “Confucius Peace Prize” to a former Taiwan vice-president. China was furious after Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in October, saying it was an “obscenity” that it was given to a man it considers a subversive and a criminal.
The newly created Confucius prize, named after the ancient Chinese philosopher the Communist Party has recently co-opted as its own, was suggested in an opinion piece in the popular tabloid the Global Times three weeks ago.
“It is a kind of peaceful response to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and ... explains the Chinese people’s views of peace,” organisers said in a statement on Wednesday.
The award ceremony will take place in Beijing on Thursday, the day before Liu is formally awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Neither he nor his wife have been allowed by the Chinese government to go to Oslo. Liu’s wife is under house arrest.
Lien Chan won out over five other nominees: Nobel Peace Prize winners Mahmoud Abbas and Nelson Mandela, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Chinese poet Qiao Damo and the China-appointed Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-most important figure.The invitation to the award ceremony was issued by the culture ministry.
Organisers suggested that one day the Confucius Peace Prize committee and the Nobel committee could cooperate, even jointly awarding peace prizes to the same nominee.
Lanka not to attend
Sri Lanka has decided to boycott Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. “The decision was taken to show our solidarity with China. It was in line with our friendly relation with China,” said a senior official to HT, on condition of anonymity.