China_s Defiant Choice for Its Peace Prize: Castro

Now Fidel Castro has added one more distinction to his r__sum__: A Chinese group has awarded him the 2014 Confucius Peace Prize, according to reports in the state-run news media on Thursday.

The award was presented Tuesday in the Boya Hotel on the campus of Peking University in northwest Beijing. Mr. Castro was not on hand to receive the accolade personally, so the presenters were not subjected to one of his famously long speeches. Cuban students who are studying in China accepted the award in his stead and said they would pass it along to Mr. Castro in a timely fashion.

_When Castro was the leader of Cuba, he never used any violence or force when faced with problems and conflicts in international relations, especially in Cuba_s relationship with the United States,_ Liu Zhiqin, a member of the award_s organizing committee, told Global Times, a state-run newspaper. He made no mention of Cuba_s military intervention in the Angolan civil war and other conflicts in Africa in the late 20th century.

_After Castro retired, he engaged in positive meetings with world leaders and organizations,_ Mr. Liu added. _Castro also contributed greatly in speaking out against nuclear warfare._

The Confucius Peace Prize was first awarded in late 2010 as a rejoinder to the Nobel Peace Prize. That year, the Nobel committee in Norway honored Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident writer who was detained in 2008 and convicted of _inciting subversion against the state._ Mr. Liu is now serving a 11-year prison sentence in northeastern China, and his wife, Liu Xia, is effectively under house arrest in Beijing.

The Confucius Peace Prize has been presented around the same time each year as the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. This year_s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Wednesday to Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old girl from Pakistan, and Kailash Satyarthi of India. Both are advocates for children_s rights.

Mr. Liu, the organizing committee member, said that an initial field of 20 nominees for the 2014 Confucius Prize included President Park Geun-hye of South Korea; Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; and the Chinese religion of Taoism. In the final stage of the process, he said, nine of the 12 judges voted for Mr. Castro.

The previous winners were Yi Cheng, head of the Chinese Buddhist Association, in 2013; Kofi Annan, a former United Nations secretary general, and Yuan Longping, a Chinese scientist working on hybrid rice, in 2012; President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in 2011; and Lien Chan, a former party chairman of the Kuomintang in Taiwan, in 2010.

New York Times | Hannah Beech

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