NGO creates 'Peace Prize'

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-12-9 8:08:00

Lien Chan

By Liu Linlin

A Chinese committee, based on the mainland, has decided to award Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT), the first-ever Confucius Peace Prize Thursday, a day before the Nobel Committee is due to award its Peace Prize to the convicted criminal Liu Xiaobo.

Tan Liuchang, chairman of the Confucius Peace Prize Committee, told the Global Times Wednesday that his organization had informed Lien about the award through non-governmental channels.

"Lien contributes immensely to the development of cross- Straits relations and to world peace," Tan said.

An award ceremony is planned for Thursday at a downtown Beijing hotel, although Tan said he could not confirm the attendance of Lien.

"We'll show the rest of the world how the Chinese understand peace," Tan said. "China itself is a symbol of peace and a force in upholding peace, especially in a world that is full of conflict."

"We do not seek to slander any other organizations. We are here to offer a way of thinking," Tan said, adding that "the Confucius Peace Prize was not designed to challenge or replace the Nobel Peace Prize."

Reuters quoted organizers, however, as saying in an e-mailed statement Wednesday that "It is kind of a peaceful response to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize."

Tan insisted that his committee was a non-governmental organization, but he declined to further elaborate on details of the award.

The invitation to the award ceremony was apparently issued by a division of the Ministry of Culture in charge of protecting local arts, suggesting at least a measure of government support for the prize, Reuters reported.

The ministry denied any connection with the award. "We are not aware of this award. It has nothing to do with us," Zhou Guangming with the information office at the ministry told the Global Times Wednesday.

Lien 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 11th Panchen Lama, according to an online statement issued by the seven-member committee. The identities of the committee members were not made public.


The nominees were named based on the results of an online poll, the statement said.

Lien traveled to the mainland in 2005, as the then KMT chairman and met with Hu Jintao, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. It was the first such meeting between the two parties since 1949. Landmark cross-Straits pacts, including direct-flight agreements and a major trade-facilitation deal between the mainland and Taiwan, have been signed in recent years.

A spokesman for Lien Chan's office in Taipei, however, said the office "has not received any notice or confirmation from the Confucius Peace Prize committee," noting that they became aware of the award via media reports only.

Li Yonghui, a foreign relations professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times Wednesday that the establishment of such an award was to express the way Chinese interpret peace.

"One can hardly conclude that this award is linked to, or is used to protest, any other award. Because such attempts would downgrade the intention and merit of having the Confucius Peace Prize," Li said.

Cao Xiaochen and Liang Chen contributed to this story

Posted in: Society

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