Mugabe wins China's Nobel Peace Prize

2015-10-22 14:01
Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - The founder of the Confucius Peace Prize, a would-be Chinese rival to the Nobel, on Thursday defended this year's award to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has often been accused of rights abuses.

Qiao Damo, founder of the little-known China International Peace Studies Centre, which runs the accolade, told AFP that Mugabe had been recognised for his "outstanding contributions" to world peace.

The nonagenarian African leader beat nine other finalists, including Bill Gates, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, he added.

"If he hadn't come to power in 1980, if he hadn't played a role, how much talent would have been wasted!" said Qiao.

The Confucius prize emerged in 2010 as a Chinese response to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo's Nobel award, which infuriated Beijing.

Political and economic order

Mugabe - who has had a close relationship with Beijing for decades - joins an eclectic roster of past winners, which includes Vladimir Putin and Fidel Castro as well as more mainstream figures such as Kofi Annan.

In a statement announcing the award in September, the committee praised Mugabe for being "committed to building the country's political and economic order, for the benefit of the Zimbabwean people", and for his "strong support of Pan-Africanism and African independence".

Human rights groups and opposition politicians accuse Mugabe of overseeing the crippling of his country's economy and brutal crackdowns, but the prize organisers dismissed their concerns.

Qiao cited Mugabe's "ability to stabilise Zimbabwe and at the same time promote peace in Africa" as chairperson of the African Union.

"Unrest is quite normal," he said. "When America was first founded, it was also very chaotic, and Zimbabwe was only founded 30 years ago."

Writing on Zimbabwe's Bulawayo24 news site, Gorden Moyo, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Party, a Zimbabwean opposition party led by former finance minister Tendai Biti, described the award as "insanity".

Eastern civilisation

"Mugabe as we know him and as the people of Zimbabwe have experienced his reign is a war-monger, a bellicosist and a sadist who delights in the misery of the people," he said.

The prize organisers, he added, "should hang their heads in shame for rewarding murderers who masquerade as peace makers".

An award ceremony - the honour is worth 500 000 yuan ($80 000) this year - will be held in December, Qiao said, adding the payment was funded by Chinese businessmen he declined to name.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told AFP the Confucius prize was "not affiliated with the government".

Qiao said the award was intended to balance the Nobel "from the perspective of Confucian culture", as the Norwegian peace prize was "too extreme and not consistent with facts".

"The Nobel Peace Prize is built on the foundations of Western civilisation, but our peace prize is built on the foundation of Eastern civilisation," he said.

The Zimbabwean embassy in Beijing declined to comment immediately to AFP.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  china  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.