A jury member of the "Confucius Peace Prize," a Chinese alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, criticized on Sunday the recently released list of candidates for the award before it had been approved by the jury members.
The Panchen Lama was nominated for "his promotion of harmony in China" and German chancellor Angela Merkel for "her contribution to European peace," Liu Haofeng, an executive chairman of the award committee, told the AFP Saturday.
The other six candidates are Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma, Chinese scientist Yuan Longping, known as the father of hybrid rice, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and James Soong, Chairman of the People First Party in Taiwan. Liu said at the second "Confucius Peace Prize" launch ceremony in Beijing Saturday. He added that all the nominees were selected by the jury, which consists of 20 experts from a variety of fields.
However, Tan Changliu, a jury member this year and the jury chairman last year, told the Global Times on Sunday that some of the nominees have not yet been approved by the panel, but refused to give the names.
"It is inappropriate to release the name of candidates on which the jury panel has not reached a consensus," Tan said.
"The jury is also working on detailed candidate selection criteria, which will be published soon," Tan added.
The Ministry of Culture denied any connection with the Confucius Peace Prize Committee last December.
Lian Chan, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang, won the prize on December 9, 2010, just a day before the convicted criminal Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, Lian did not appear at the awards ceremony last year.