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Confucius Peace Prize put to rest despite candidates being selected

(Global Times)

13:55, September 30, 2011

In what would have been its second year, the Confucius Peace Prize was abolished as part of a crackdown on "Chinese" awards. The announcement came after candidates for the prize were named.

The Chinese Local Art Association (CLAA) affiliated with the Ministry of Culture made the statement Tuesday, saying the award's organizer, the Traditional Culture Protection Department with the CLAA, failed to get an official permit ahead of awarding the prize.

The First Confucius Peace Prize was held on December 9, 2010, a day before the Nobel Committee was due to award its Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. The Confucius Peace Prize was granted to Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang.

"We didn't even know that until the culture ministry inquired with us after its first presentation. Later, we told the department not to hold the prize again," a staff member with the CLAA told the Global Times on Thursday. "Their activities were a good thing but they have violated regulations of the culture ministry and CLAA because they didn't inform us and get our permission."

A second award ceremony was scheduled for December 9.

The candidates include Panchen Lama, religious leader in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Russian Prime Minsiter Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma and Yuan Longping, the father of Chinese Hybrid Rice.

Calls to Tan Liuchang, chairman of the Confucius Peace Prize Committee, went unanswered on Thursday.

"There are too many various prizes and awards and some of them are illegal and unprofessional. Such activities should follow legal procedures," the anonymous worker with the CLAA said.

The Chinese government eliminated 97 percent of the award titles commonly used by award ceremony organizers, cutting the total number from 148,400 to 4,218. It also now forbids event organizers from handing out awards with the words "China" or "national" in their name without official approval, the Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

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