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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Confucius Peace Prize Snubs Nose at Nobel Peace Prize, in Battle of Ideas!

Confucius Prize could be weapon in battle of ideas

By Liu Zhiqin

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.

However, the Chinese people's discontent or questioning will not change the prejudice of the proud and stubborn Noble Prize Committee members.

On the contrary, China's opposition could inspire their pride as heroes or sense of accomplishment because it has become the mind-set of the current Westerners that they will oppose whatever China supports and support whatever China opposes. In order to make them change their mind-set, more appropriate ways need to be adopted.

We often stress the need to fight for the right to speak. In fact, this is a good opportunity and 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.
Through such evaluation and selection, people around the world can have the most direct, sensible and comparative opportunity to observe, analyze and understand the Eastern and Western values.

With China's growing economic strength, Chinese culture and ideas will also be spread.

With the establishment of "Confucius Institutes" all over the world, the ideas of Confucius are understood and accepted by more and more people throughout the world.

Against such a good background, the establishment of a worldwide "Confucius Peace Prize" will be welcome by people in different countries. Of course, this step needs the long-term accumulation of different sides, but it is essential for China to step into the world.

While carrying out "Confucius Peace Prize" selection, China can learn more things from the world, especially how people of different cultures, different religions and different political systems think, build their nations and enable their people to live and work in peace.

We should also teach Westerners how to cultivate their own spirits and kindly treat people that have different national values and lifestyles. Only in this way could China and the West really work together to create a harmonious and tolerant world.

In a recent editorial, the Global Times looked "forward to the Nobel Prize Committee that really belongs to the world." I am afraid this good wish will not be realized. At least we should not rely on the members of the Peace Prize Committee. We have suffered too much loss already.

We would rather do something within our power than expect others to change, such as establishing through civil society a "Confucius Peace Prize" Committee and inviting internationally renowned persons to join. Thus the world will surely look at China with new eyes!

The author is the Beijing chief representative of Zurich Bank, Switzerland. globaltimesopinion@

Confucius Peace Prize Snubs Nose at Nobel Peace Prize Honors

 Confucius Peace Prize - just three weeks after the idea for the honors were first publicly mentioned, isnow a reality. The Confucius Peace Prize is the Chinese snub-nosed attempt to cobble together its own peace prize - and the Confucius Peace Prize will be awarded the day before the Nobel Committee honors an imprisoned Chinese dissident in a move that has enraged Beijing.

Since Liu Xiaobo's selection, China has vilified the 54-year-old democracy advocate, called the choice an effort by the West to contain its rise, disparaged his supporters as "clowns," and launched a campaign to persuade countries not to attend Friday's ceremony in Oslo.

The government is also preventing Liu - who is serving an 11-year sentence for co-authoring a bold appeal for political reforms in the Communist country - and his family members from attending.

Amid the flurry of action came a commentary published on Nov. 17 in a Communist Party-approved tabloid that suggested China create its own award - the "Confucius Peace Prize" - to counter the choice of Liu.

Three weeks later, The Associated Press has learned, China is doing just that.

Named after the famed philosopher, the new prize was created to "interpret the viewpoints of peace of (the) Chinese (people)," the awards committee said in a statement it released to the AP on Tuesday.

Awards committee chairman Tan Changliu said his group was not an official government body, but acknowledged that it worked closely with the Ministry of Culture.

He declined to give specifics about the committee, when it was created and how the five judges were chosen, saying it would be disclosed later.

The first honoree is Lien Chan, Taiwan's former vice president and the honorary chairman of its Nationalist Party, for having "built a bridge of peace between the mainland and Taiwan." A staffer in his Taipei office said she could not comment Tuesday because she knew nothing about the prize.

Lien was chosen from among eight nominees - some of whom are regularly mentioned for, or have already won, that other peace prize: including billionaire Bill Gates, former South African President Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

While China regularly disparages the Dalai Lama, the religion's spiritual leader, the current Panchen Lama is a 20-year-old who was hand-picked by Beijing. The original boy named by the Dalai Lama has disappeared.

"We should not compete, we should not confront the Nobel Prize, but we should try to set up another standard," said Liu Zhiqin, the Beijing businessman who suggested the prize in The Global Times.

"The Nobel prize is not a holy thing that we cannot doubt or question. Everyone has a right to dispute whether it's right or wrong." Liu said in the phone interview that he was not involved in setting up the new awards.

Tan, who leads the awards committee, acknowledged that the new prize, which comes with a purse of 100,000 yuan ($15,000), doesn't have international recognition: "It needs to grow gradually, and we hope people will believe the award is of global significance."

China is not the first nation to be rankled by a Nobel Peace Prize. During Nazi Germany era, Adolf Hitler created the German National Prize for Art and Science in 1937 as a replacement for the Nobel. He had forbidden German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from accepting his Nobel awarded in 1935.

This year, China's clampdown against Liu and his supporters means the Nobel medal and money won't be handed out for the first time since that period. Nobel officials say the prestigious $1.4 million award can be collected only by the laureate or close family members.

In the meantime, China is chipping away at the Nobel: It succeeded in persuading 18 other countries to boycott the upcoming ceremony, including longtime allies like Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba as well as business partners Saudi Arabia and Iran, Nobel officials said Tuesday.

Beijing sharpened its denunciations, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu accusing the Nobel committee of "orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves."

"We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path," she said.
But Beijing's hastily arranged efforts to provide a distraction to the Nobel ceremony are counterproductive, said Oxford University China scholar Steve Tsang.

"The whole thing is too obviously being rushed to counter the Nobel Prize to Liu Xiaobo. People will see it for what it is. That being the case, it's not going to be very credible," he said.

If anything, China's heavy-handed reactions in the wake of the announcement, which include putting Liu's wife and other supporters under house arrest and barring dozens of activists from traveling to Oslo, "simply give the rest of the world the impression that human rights is really in trouble in China," he said.