China group proceeding with homegrown peace prize

BEIJING (AP) — The sponsors of a would-be Chinese alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize said Tuesday they would defy a government order to not award this year’s prize, which is to be given to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Qiao Damo, head of the China International Peace Research Center, said the group plans to proceed with a Dec. 9 ceremony to award the Confucius Peace Prize. That’s despite what Qiao said were orders from the Culture Ministry to cancel the ceremony because permission wasn’t given to publicize the award and the group had illicitly changed its name.

The ministry said in September it had ordered the prize canceled, but did not immediately respond to further requests for comment Tuesday.

Qiao’s group hastily launched the prize last year in an apparent attempt to counter the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize that went to jailed Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring an appeal for political reform.

Liu’s win enraged the government and Chinese nationalists, who accused the Nobel committee of interfering in China’s legal system as part of a plot to bring the nation down in disgrace.

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