Beijing: Brushing aside questions over its
political motives, a Chinese group awarded its own "peace
prize" today, just a day before the Nobel Committee was set to
honour jailed China dissident Liu Xiaobo.
The inaugural Confucius Peace Prize was awarded to
former Taiwan vice president Lien Chan at a chaotic press
conference held by a handful of Chinese university professors
who presented themselves as the prize "jury".
Lien`s own office has denied all knowledge of the
award, but that did not stop them presenting it on his behalf
to a pony-tailed young Chinese girl.
"For Peace!" jury member Yang Disheng said as he
handed the glass trophy to the girl, who looked somewhat
The prize comes one day before the Nobel ceremony
honouring Liu, a dissident writer who has called for political
reform in one-party-ruled China and who was announced as peace
laureate in October.
A deeply embarrassed China has responded furiously to
the award, threatening it would harm relations with Norway,
lashing the Nobel committee as "clowns" and pressuring
countries to stay away from the ceremony.
Members of the prize jury denied any link to China`s
government or suggestions their prize was a response to Liu`s
"The more peace prizes we can have in the world, the
better," said Yang, identified by the jury as a professor of
"ideology and culture" at Beijing`s Tsinghua University.
But the press conference soon took on a farcical tone
when members were questioned about aspects of the award, such
as the timing.