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China readies its own peace prize
BEIJING, Dec 9 (Agencies):
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Published on 10 Dec. 2010 1:03 AM IST
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China will award its answer to the Nobel Peace Prize aday before it is bestowed upon jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, giving the “ Confucius Peace Prize” to former Taiwan vice-president Lien Chan.
China was furious after Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in October, saying it was an “obscenity” that it was given to a man it considers a subversive and a criminal.
The newly created Confucius prize, named after the ancient Chinese philosopher the Communist Party has recently co-opted as its own, was suggested in an opinion piece in the popular tabloid the Global Times three weeks ago.
“It is a kind of peaceful response to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and ... explains the Chinese people’s views of peace,” organisers said.
The award ceremony will take place in Beijing on Thursday, the day before Liu is formally awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Neither he nor his wife have been allowed by the Chinese government to go to Oslo. Liu’s wife has been put under house arrest. Taiwan’s 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 Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama.
China is conducting a sweeping crackdown on dissent before Friday’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, casting the net wide to prevent friends and family attending the ceremony in Oslo. Liu is serving an 11-year jail term for subversion. Even family members of little-known dissidents have been prevented from leaving China.
Amnesty International estimates that over 200 people have either been stopped from going abroad, detained or put under house arrest ahead of the ceremony. About 150 Chinese pro-democracy activists living outside China and several lawmakers from Hong Kong were due to travel to Oslo for the award ceremony.

 
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