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Vladimir Putin wins peace prize in China

But the Chinese administration has distanced itself from the award.

Last year's ceremony saw an unidentified girl collect the prize on behalf of former Taiwanese VP Lien Chang.
Last year's ceremony saw an unidentified girl collect the prize on behalf of former Taiwanese VP Lien Chang.
Image: Alexander F. Yuan/AP/Press Association Images

CHINA’S CULTURE MINISTRY disbanded the Confucius Peace Prize committee earlier this year and does not stand over the award to Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.

According to the BBC, the committee re-established itself after the government dismantled it in September.

The 16-strong group from the China International Peace Research Centre revealed its winner on Sunday despite not having the backing of the administration.

The New York Times says there was little reported in the Chinese media about the press conference but details eventually emerged through Twitter.

Background

The Confucian Peace Prize was established as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize after the Scandinavian committee named Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo as its 2010 recipient.

The administration said the decision interfered with China’s legal system as Liu was jailed in 2008 for co-authoring an appeal for political reform.

Although Beijing was enraged by the announcement, it is still unclear if the Culture Ministry was actually behind the award.

Taiwanese politician Lien Chan was the first recipient of the prize but the ministry has since chastised the group for handing it out in its name.

In September, the ministry moved to dismantle the committee altogether and told the scholars not to present a prize this year.

Defying the order

In a statement declaring him their winner, the Confucius Peace Prize committee branded Putin an anti-terrorist and national hero because of his “iron hand and toughness” in the Chechnyan war in 1999.

They also praised his refusal to support the “NATO bombing of Libya” this year.

The committee insists that the prize-giving ceremony will go ahead, stating they would defy the order from Beijing. The China International Peace Research Centre, which is independent of the government, said it will now present the awards on 9 December.

The other nominees for the award were Microsoft founder Bill Gates, South African President Jacob Zuma, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Kremlin has said it only heard about the award through the press.

-Additional reporting by AP

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