China's beef with the Nobel Committee over its selection of dissident Liu Xiaobo for this year's Peace Prize has turned comical, with the government creating its own "Confucius Peace Prize," which will go to Taiwan's former VP this week.
This year's Nobel laureate, 54-year-old democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo (left), is not well-liked by the Chinese government. He's serving an 11-year jail sentence, his fourth time in prison, for "inciting subversion of state power." And when it was announced that Liu had won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese government's propaganda machine went into full-on attack mode, lashing out at the Norwegian Nobel Committee and calling Liu's supporter's "clowns." On top of that, Communist Party-affiliated newspaper The Global Times floated the idea of creating an alternate prize — the "Confucius Peace Prize." Well, it's here!
The winner of the first ever Confucius Peace Prize is Lien Chan — a former vice president of Taiwan, an advocate of warming relations between the two countries, and a man whose family allegedly made billions from shady land and oil deals. In other words, Lien is nothing at all like Liu. When the AP contacted his office, a staffer there had no clue about the prize, which the creators say was done with the help of China's Ministry of Culture. The list of this year's Confucius Peace Prize nominees includes Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, and China's own handpicked, bootleg Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama.
China has also warned countries that attending Friday's ceremony in Norway would damage business ties, and there are no big surprises among the list of countries that have agreed to boycot the festivities: Russia, Serbia, Cuba, Iran, Nepal, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, among others. According to China's state-run media, "more than 100 countries and international organizations" support China in denouncing the Nobel Committee for selecting a "criminal" for the award. And China's alternate peace prize is not necessarily new, either: In 1937, Hitler created the German National Prize for Art and Science, and forbade German nominees from accepting Nobel awards. Great call, China!
[Images via Getty (top); AP]