Who invented Confucius Peace Prize?


“China is going to give its own Confucius peace prize just a day before this year’s Nobel prize ceremony”. I read this on one of my friend’s renren status an hour ago. That sounded like a really bad PR campaign. And not like what Chinese authority would usually react to this type of things. Usually it would try to block information and let the fuss die down quietly—many Chinese still don’t know who won the 1989 Nobel peace prize and the 2000 Nobel literature prize. Is Chinese authority so irritated this year by the Nobel peace prize committee awarding the jailed dissident, Liu Xiaobo that it decided to take a whole new approach and start a counter-Nobel-peace-prize prize? By having it right before the Nobel peace prize the public discussion would be raised again and that is the least what authority wants to see.

Is Chinese authority dumb or this information fake? I started to google “Confucius peace prize”. The results contained reports from big-time media such as The New York Times, Time and CNN. The New York Times’ report titled “19 Countries to Skip Nobel Ceremony, While China Offers Its Own Prize” reported

China announced that it would create its own prize for peace


The chairman of the newly created Confucius Peace Prize committee, Tan Changliu, told The Associated Press that the first award would be given this week to Lien Chan

and, of course, it spent most portion of this report talking about Liu Xiaobo. Who exactly created this award? New York times said it was “China”. That’s misleading, is this “China” Chinese government or NGO or just some regular Chinese guys?

I went to the AP report which was mentioned in the article to find out. This report became the source for many other media.  It said that

“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.”

So this Confucius peace prize was not a governmental act. But New York Times “missed” this key information saying it is “China” who created this award.

New York Times’ article is just one example, and the one from Time is also worth mentioning. The article was titled “Who needs Nobel: China launches the Confucius peace prize” which also spending half of the article talking about Liu Xiaobo, said the award is “a newly launched, China approved alternative. ” I wonder where they got the “China-approved” information. This report also missed the information of who created the award but it provided a link to the AP report which I just read.

Who created this award is very important information because anyone can create an award and get public attention. If this award was created by a nobody then it is really not worth mentioning. It would be very different if this award was created by Chinese government or at least with the support of Chinese government. Media like New York Times and Time intentionally (or not) missed this piece of information and made it seemed as if it was a governmental act. The AP report they both referred to said the group “was not an official government body, but acknowledged that it worked closely with the Ministry of Culture” but did not mention who this group is and its government connection. So that’s what we need to find out about.

I turned to Chinese language websites in the hope of finding out more information. Many reports regarding this issue started with “According to foreign media”. There are also reports doubting the award giving organization. In an article from United Daily News, it reported that the Ministry of Culture denied that it had ever cooperated with any civil organization to create this award and that it had never “worked closely” with the award giving group. The award giving group, according to the United Daily, was named “Chinese folk tradition and art preservation protection ministry of ministry of culture” and was “attached” to an NGO founded with the help of the ministry of culture called “Chinese folk art association”. From a “senior journalist” the report quoted, the members of this group are mostly not so prominent university professors.

OK, here is my final speculation: A group of Chinese fame-thirsty professors created this “Confucius peace prize” and contacted (or was discovered by) AP. AP reported them and other media started to follow up this thread. The Nobel peace prize giving ceremony is around the corner and they need to report about it anyway. This Confucius news sounded so funny and eye-catchy and would be such a great thing to add to their otherwise boring and repeated Nobel peace prize reports. And it is always better to say “China” had done something than to say “a small and non-influential Chinese organization” had done something. Because this way it can raise speculation and attract more attention, which is what they want.

  1. I think the implication is that this sort of thing does not happen in China without knowledge and tacit approval of some government body (“Ministry of Culture”… I think Public Security might have been consulted too)

    Imagine if this “group of professors,” as you call them, decided to give their award… again to Liu Xiaobo. They’d soon be joining him, don’t you think?

    So unfortunately, I think the foreign media got it right this time.

    1. Gotta agree here.

      First of all, it’s not true that anyone can just make an award and “get attention”. I could announce my own award tomorrow, and the AP wouldn’t care.

      Moreover, N. is right in suggesting that in China, during such a sensitive time, there is just no way this could happen without government approval and supervision. Personally, I suspect it was also the government’s idea, but there probably will be no way to prove that (until the Wikileaks China dump comes out!). But regardless, the fact that these people are giving their award, and that they announced it so close to another VERY sensitive “peace prize” date, pretty much proves they have, at the very least, approval from the government, and probably quite a bit more.

  2. Seriously? Are you really seriously putting the theory out there that the central govt had nothing to do with this? It’s pure coincidence?

    And, by the way, blaming the white guy is old, stereotyped, xenophobic thinking that China has manipulated for its own good for years.

  3. Funny how it if it’s China, the conspiracy (close association to the government implies government planned it) is considered fact. However, when it’s the US, the conspiracy (woman reporting rape is associated with CIA implies US planned it) is considered BS.

    I can only assume it’s because the US has a better track record in being honest? Oh wait..

    1. Until Julian Assange is awarded the Nobel peace prize I’m not convince Liu’s award is not pollitically motivated by western governments wanting to contain China’s rise.

    1. maybe you should create your own article about it to raise speculation and attract attention

  4. The Nobel Peace Prize is a politicized joke – Truth
    Liu Xiaobo’s crappy ideas will ruin China – Truth
    Beijing is overreacting and throwing a needless tantrum – Truth

      1. i like how you phased “I know many Chinese who think different”
        for me, i would just say most of their mind are fucked up

  5. To the author:

    You are missing two articles in Global Times. As we all know, Global Times is the English Voice of the Communist Party.

    One article, written on November 17th, is called: “Confucius Prize could be weapon in battle of ideas” http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/commentary/2010-11/592778.html

    The other one, written on December 9th, is called: “NGO creates ‘Peace Prize’ ” http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2010-12/600306.html

    So, even if we don’t know exactly who stands behind this peace price (well most people don’t know who exactly stands behind the nobel price too), we know, that the party aproves this price in some way. This “Tan Changliu”, head of the Jury committee, also isn’t a no name. He professor for philosophy at Beijing University Beida.

    1. I’d say this pretty much demolishes the premises of Jack Liu’s article.

      Is there any hope for a rebuttal from him…?

  6. “annnnnd the the winner of the first ever Confucius Peace Prize is………..Li Gang!”

  7. Confucious, the guy who preached submission to your country, the leaders and your parents. All change is bad and the highest goal to reach is to copy and do exactly like your leaders and forefathers. Yeah,, I get why the CCP would name the price after this guy.

    1. Mate, don’t disrespect Master Kong.

      You may not agree with some of his ideas, but most of his wisdoms are very noble.

      Don’t just cherry-pick his ideas, read his wisdoms, it will open your eyes.

      1. I don’t doubt the lad had some decent ideas and things to say but when his overall philosophy was based on the things I mentioned I do reserve the right to keep a distance. Let me recommend Spinoza, Voltaire and Russell back.

        1. You don’t understand Confucius mate, please read it before you post.

          The golden rule is ‘Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself’

          All his life, he fought for the government to be the guarantor of a pensioner likelihood, and education as the right of the people. He fought the caste-system, so that all people can be noble if they choose to be. He promote the gentleman belief, so that countries can be in peace.

          And that is not all, if not, he wouldn’t be called a sage.

          1. ‘Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself’

            Hmm, where have I heard that before. Yeah, just about every liberal philosopher and almost all religious prophets. I can see you are quite the fan of this guy so this discussion isn’t really going anywhere. Personally I’d pick at least 10-15 guys to read before Confucious is up.

          2. “I hated Confucius from the age of eight. There was a Confucian temple in the village and I wanted nothing more than to burn it to the ground.”

            – Mao Zedong

          3. “so that all people can be noble if they choose to be.”
            To me, that kind of defeats the purpose of being nobility then. Replace noble by rich: it’s self-defeating.

            Maybe you find he has written some very deep things that are not basic wisdom you could teach a child. But don’t you recognize that the way he is being exploited today in propaganda is 100% what GuoBao said “submission to your country, the leaders and your parents. etc”?

            1. Your definition of noble is rich? That is totally wrong in confucius ideology. Being noble is being a gentlemen, being educated, skillful and intelligent, not wealthy in money but wealthy in ethics and wisdom, checkout junzi.

              I could careless of what confucius is being exploited as, but you don’t disrespect him with cherry-picking his idea and not knowing the thousands of wisdoms he brings to this world that amounts to peace, which is what our subject is.

              And for all I’ve seen, CCP discouraged Confucian having worked there myself .

      1. Just like China is furious over Liu Xiaobo getting the Nobel Prize, they won’t be happy if Assange gets Confucius prize.

  8. Many Chinese generalized that the Nobel prize was created by “Norway” or “the West” or “Europe”. You reap what you sow.

  9. This Confucius Prize story is featured by all major newspapers in the West. It seems like they genuinely believe or want it to true. However, anyone who has a slight understanding of how China’s propaganda machine works would know this can not be true.

    1. I’ve read about it on 4 new sites by now, and don’t worry. All of them point out the irony and use it to remind us of who got the peace price in the first place. Oh, and they also all mention that the Taiwaneese politician who got the 2500 year old price (as the organizing committee points out -no, I’m not kidding) refused to accept it. Basically China shooting itself in the foot yet again.

      1. How? at least one official from the cultural ministry came out to call the whole thing ‘nonsense’.

        1. This Confucius Award of course has the backing of the CCP, or at the very least it’s silent acceptance.

      2. Actually Lien Chan has accepted the prize before it was handed out. The western media was a little slow to get the news and so have you.

    2. Your comment seems incomplete.

      1. What is it that you claim is untrue? That the prize doesn’t exist? That it is not supported by the Chinese government? That it wasn’t awarded to Lien Chan?

      2. Care to explain to us what is this “slight understanding” of the Chinese propaganda machine that you apparently have?

  10. I find it slightly ironic that in order to prove that the Nobel Prize is a biased, political weapon, China invents it’s own, supposedly fair and neutral equivalent,,, and promptly hands it out to a Taiwanese who’s in favor of closer ties to China. Well done,, you sure taught us a lesson there.

    1. I find it rather ironic that China can so easily prove that the Nobel Prize is a biased, political weapon by inventing its own equally biased and political equivalent,,, and, like how the Nobel prize was handed to a Chinese who’s in favor of western ideologies, hands it out to a Taiwanese who’s in favor of closer ties to China.

      Lien Chan promotes fraternity between Mainland and Taiwan, isn’t that the supposed spirit of the peace prize?

  11. The Norwegian Nobel Committee: “This prize conveys the understanding that these are universal rights and universal values, they are not Western standards.”

    LOL, look who’s talking.

  12. This looks like an interesting twist to the events. But despite the irony, I think it is about time that the Chinese have our own version of the Nobel peace prize. Since the Nobel peace prize has been politicised by the West in the past, there is no harm for the Chinese to tell the world the other side of the story.

  13. “…the one from Time is also worth mentioning. The article was titled “Who needs Nobel: China launches the Confucius peace prize” which also spending half of the article talking about Liu Xiaobo, said the award is “a newly launched, China approved alternative.” I wonder where they got the “China-approved” information.”

    Okay, are you serious? The very valid assumption here is that the entity that is China (yes, this means the powers that be) necessarily approve of the award due to the fact that it was allowed to happen. One cannot – with even a shred of credibility – suggest otherwise.

  14. Also, may I ask, how are you able to access these foreign news sources? The last time I checked “China” has blocked them.

    1. Actually, it hasn’t. I (an American currently living and working in China) can quite easily access all the major English-language news sources. CNN and BBC used to be blocked, but aren’t any more (following the Olympics). These days the flavors of the month for blocking are streaming video websites (Youtube being the most famous) and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, etc.). If you haven’t been in China for several years, though, you could be forgiven for not knowing that.

      1. Check again… sans VPN. BBC, CNN, and several other major news sources have been blocked for a few days now. I’ve lived here for 3 months and I’m well aware of what’s blocked and what’s not.

  15. The Confucius Peace Prize started in 1901 and is older than the Nobel. The 2010 is a reboot of the old award and was planned back in 1988 plus added incentive to counter this year’s Nobel award to Liu Xiabo. The direct decendent of Confucius currently lives in Taiwan. The Confucius version actually embodies more of what the Nobel suppose to stood for because the winner Lien Chan and brokered peace between mainland China and Taiwan beating Carter and Mandella. It was an award chosen by Beijing based academics and in part base on popular opinions amongst ordinary Chinese not governement officials from the Chinese Communist Party otherwise PM Wen Jiabao would have been clear favourite to win it. If the Chinese were really cynical and wishe to politicise an award in the pretext of peace (as Norway had dome with Liu) they could have awarded it to Julian Assange instead.

    1. Actually I doubt PM Wen Jiabao would have been clear favorite (for the government itself to vote on) even if I bought your explanation as to how the government didn’t have a say, given his recent penchant for reform speeches (censored in China). The hardliners don’t want to give him any impetus or platform for further such speeches, not to mention the basic hypocrisy of giving the prize to someone who was arguing for more or less the same thing that Liu Xiaobo has.

      You’re really going to have a hard time convincing anyone with half a brain that the Beijing-based academics were entirely free to choose a candidate for the prize–and while we’re at it, let’s have a role call of the actual academics and whether they are truly representative of the variety of opinions in Chinese academia, or whether they are just the most trustworthy party members in their respective departments.

  16. @Simon: Yes, you’re right, the CCP is naive enough to think giving PM Wen Jiabao the award would be worthwhile and believable! Good one! Also, why do people keep mentioning Julian Assange? The CCP blocks the website wikileaks!

    So, I ask you, if the CCP blocks international news sites for fear of the general public finding out what much of the international community thinks of its policies and actions, why would they reward and promote a guy that represents the epitome of absolute freedom of speech and freedom of the press?

    The answer: The CCP would not. Otherwise, Liu Xiaobo would not be imprisoned and prohibited from receiving the real peace prize.

  17. Strongly support Kǒng Fūzǐ prize awarded to obscure multi-millionaire from Taiwan [part of China] . Nobel prize is just copy by American lackey blond haired Japanese/Norway imperial family. [Eat whale foreign devil big nose blue eye bastard name ends with san/sen] of 5,00 year old Kǒng Fūzǐ prize origin in our China.

    Also hate Swedish & French

    And Malawi.

    And Paraguay, Burkina Faso, Honduras & Vanuatu.

  18. I actually have to agree with the LZ on this one. While the full articles on the CFP were generally fair (misleading headlines aside, which I can forgive because they don’t allow a lot of space for detail), there was an article on the Nobel on CNN earlier today that included a paragraph about the CFP that said something like “Beijing responded by hastily organizing its own blah blah blah…” I mean, “Beijing” is taking it a step further, that implies that it’s coming from the top. Now I do agree that they probably had to get SOME kind of official approval for this event- from the Beijing PSB if nothing else- but while the Ministry of Culture could be denying its involvement because they know it looks bad, the organizer could also be exaggerating the involvement of the MOC because he thinks that it being organized by a handful of professors makes it sound less than impressive.

    I don’t think that the organizing committee could’ve been the only people aware of it; the Chinese Glo.bal Times site had a poll about whether or not China should do such a thing a while ago. But I have a hard time imagining that this would’ve been done in such a half-assed way if it had had full government support. The government also would’ve probably managed to keep the organizers on-message and avoid demeaning remarks about Norway. Well, maybe.

  19. This is why he won the peace price

    “I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who have monitored, arrested and interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I’m unable to accept your surveillance, arrest, prosecution or sentencing, I respect your professions and personalities, including Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing who act for the prosecution at present. I was aware of your respect and sincerity in your interrogation of me on December 3.

    For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love….

    I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints.”

    – Liu Xiaobo, 23 December 2009

    1. People should really take the time to learn more about what Liu Xiaobo believes before holding him up as a great champion of human rights and peace.

      While no one should be imprisoned just for speaking their mind, Liu is no hero and certainly doesn’t deserve a prize, given that he supported both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as Israel’s occupation of Palestine as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars retroactively. Hardly worthy of a prize that is ostensibly a recognition of a peace advocate.


      Some more selected quotes from Liu for your reading pleasure:

      “The free world led by the US fought almost all regimes that trampled on human rights … The major wars that the US became involved in are all ethically defensible.”

      “[T]he outstanding achievement made by Bush in anti-terrorism absolutely cannot be erased by Kerry’s slandering … However much risk must be endured in striking down Saddam Hussein, know that no action would lead to a greater risk. This has been proven by the second world war and September 11! No matter what, the war against Saddam Hussein is just! The decision by President Bush is right!”

      “It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.”

      1. You should note, however, that the Nobel is not some lifetime achievement award. He was awarded on the basis of CHarter 08, and he was deemed deserving on that basis alone. The Nobel is not recognition of everything he’s ever done, everything he’s ever said, and everything he’s every written, in his lifetime.

        Yours is the usual approach of someone bent on character assassination. Don’t talk about the Charter, but talk about other stuff (for which he was not awarded a Nobel) instead. Fortunately, the Nobel committee does not engage in your level of reasoning.

        THe prize is ostensibly in recognition of someone who advocates peace. There’s nothing in Charter 08 that contradicts that. Your argument might justify why the guy hasn’t won 5 or 6 Nobel Peace prizes up until now, but doesn’t do anything to challenge his winning it this year.

  20. From the People’s Daily: “The invitation to the award ceremony was apparently issued by a division of the Ministry of Culture in charge of protecting local arts.”

    From The New York Times: “The Confucius prize was conceived in recent weeks by a group of patriotic Chinese”

    Your nitpicking over wording misses the bigger point: China, embarrassed it was caught out jailing someone just for writing a charter, reacted badly to the Nobel Prize and responded with a PR disaster. It doesn’t matter whether it was an “official” government prize or a “kinda-sorta-official” prize that Beijing then tried to step away from.

    It wasn’t something the AP started and other journos picked up on. The organizers invited a large number of the foreign media (online estimates are about 200) to the press conference where a cute 6-year-old posed for cameras. As one would expect, that generates publicity. Especially since this is a pretty funny story.

    Of course the media wrote this in context to Liu. The Q&A was filled with Liu comments. The Confucius committee was happy to take pot-shots at Norway. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the subtext.

    Do you think a high-profile “Peace Prize” event could take place this month without someone in Beijing knowing about it?

    @ MAC — You write: “the government also would’ve probably managed to keep the organizers on-message and avoid demeaning remarks about Norway. Well, maybe.”

    The Foreign Ministry has publicly called the entire Nobel committee “clowns.” So I don’t think Beijing is particularly good about being “on-message” or avoiding demeaning comments.

    1. That’s why I conceded “maybe.” But still, even “clowns” is nothing compared to what was said at the CPP meeting, where the judges displayed a special brand of Chinese arrogance that most people who don’t speak or read Chinese usually aren’t privy to.

  21. This “prize” is really quite hilarious. Even if the awards committee is half an arm’s length removed from an official government body, it would be unbelievable to suggest that the award’s genesis and inaugural recipient were not determined with the knowledge and consent of the big-wigs. Not to mention that the ceremony was held at a government building. That’s more than just a bunch of zealous academics looking for face time. I must say it was unusually clever to not have Hu Jintao hand it out himself, cuz that’s usually how good the CCP is at shooting herself in the foot, but to consider this as CCP China’s prize is hardly a stretch.

    So Liu can’t attend the Nobel ceremony personally because he is in jail. The Confucius winner doesn’t go because he either wasn’t notified of his win, and/or doesn’t know whatever the heck it is that he has supposedly won, so they hand the thing to a 6 year-old stand-in instead. Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert couldn’t have written this stuff any better even if they tried.

    1. So only if the Chinese government actively suppress this award by breaking the organization up, can the statement that “CHINA gave the Confucian award” be wrong? (also notice they said CHINA, not just Chinese government. The name CHINA is way too overused, since it represent 14 fucking billion people).

      Then what’s all that bullshit about the nobel peace prize has nothing to do with the Norwegian government? I don’t see any report that implies Norway government directly gave the award. I don’t see media ridiculing that Norwegian diplomat who said “the Nobel committee has nothing to do with the government” when all of the committee members are politicians.

      China messed up is only in your mind, if you think that people in your demographics who share your opinion is important in the world stage and matters at all in world’s business. But the truth is, with the economic recession, even the western government don’t have much diplomatic pull on CCP. Let’s not even talk about what little effect does some small crowd of extremely media savvy average young adult have.

  22. Tariq Ali: Liu Xiaobo – neo-con

    For the record, Liu Xiaobo has stated publicly that in his view:

    (a) China’s tragedy is that it wasn’t colonised for at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan. This would apparently have civilised it for ever;
    (b) The Korean and Vietnam wars fought by the US were wars against totalitarianism and enhanced Washington’s ‘moral credibility’;
    (c) Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and Senator Kerry’s criticisms were ‘slander-mongering’;
    (d) Afghanistan? No surprises here: Full support for Nato’s war.

    He has a right to these opinions, but should they get a peace prize?



    In a 1988 interview with Hong Kong’s Liberation Monthly (now known as Open Magazine), Liu was asked what it would take for China to realize a true historical transformation. He replied:

    (It would take) 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would require 300 years as a colony for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

    During the 2004 US presidential election, Liu again praised Bush for his war effort against Iraq and condemned Democratic party candidate John Kerry for not sufficiently supporting the US’s wars


    Known for his pro-West stance, Liu once stated in an interview: “Modernization means whole-sale westernization, choosing a human life is choosing Western way of life. Difference between Western and Chinese governing system is humane vs in-humane, there’s no middle ground… Westernization is not a choice of a nation, but a choice for the human race”

  24. 2010 TRUTH PRIZE… china needs the truth truth truth.

    Confucius: Dead for 2000-3000 years…. dig a big big bib hole / bury confucius.. this idiot has been dead for 2000 years….

    what Nation celebrates a Dead person from 2000 years.. ago.. dig a big hole-Bury confucius.

    HANZI: what civilized nation uses 50,000 block-monster for writing… Bury HANZI.





  25. WEB SEARCH: 1911 / 1949:

    GOOGLE SEARCH: famines in the 1950s 1960….. truth in the public domain.. PD.

    great leap forward.. public doman PD facts

    cultural revolution: public domain PD facts….

    china from 1949–1978-1979…

    INTERNET SEARCH: mao zedong killed upwards to 45-million people… twice the peoples of Australia….




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