The organizer of a Chinese peace prize said Monday that it was created to provide a platform for Chinese people to voice their opinions on peace, after overseas media labeled it as an "attempt to counter" the Nobel Peace Prize.
Eight nominees for this year's Confucius Peace Prize, initiated by the China International Peace Research Centre (CIPRC), were unveiled Sunday in Beijing, including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his successor Ban Ki-moon, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates.
Chinese candidates include social activist Wang Dingguo, Peking University professor Tang Yijie, agricultural scientist Yuan Longping and the 11th Panchen Lama.
The award ceremony will be held in early December, according to the organizer.
"I hope the prize can provide a platform for Chinese to have their voices on peace heard by the world," Liu Zhiqin, consultant of the committee, told the Global Times.
For the Chinese people, the word "peace" not only means an objection to wars, but also means tolerance for different cultures and religions, he added.
The establishment of the prize in December 2010 was inspired by an article by Liu, which denounced the Nobel Peace Prize committee for awarding the 2010 prize to Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, said Qiao Damo, chairman of the CIPRC.
In the article, Liu Zhiqin suggested China's civil society set up a "Confucius Peace Prize" to declare China's view on peace.
The first prize went to Lien Chan, former Taiwan leader, and last year's was awarded to Russian then Premier Vladimir Putin.
The Ministry of Culture declared in September 2011 that the prize had nothing to do with an association affiliated with it.
Qiao registered the CIPRC in Hong Kong in October.
AP reported Sunday that the prize was launched "in an apparent attempt to counter that year's Nobel Prize."
Liu asserted that the two prizes were consistent in their stance of resolving disputes between different ethnic groups, religions and nations.
Qiao added that the prize advocates Confucian thinking, which stresses harmony.
However, Wang Xiaoyu, a professor on cultural criticism with the Shanghai-based Tongji University, downplayed the significance of the prize. He told the Global Times that the organizer is trying to promote the reputation of some people by catering to the Chinese people's nationalistic feelings.