The Chinese equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the Confucius Peace Prize, has been awarded to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
"Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is this year's winner of the Confucius Peace Prize, China's alternative to the Nobel Prize," reports the Associated Press.
"The committee that sponsors the prize praised 88-year-old Castro for peacefully resolving international conflicts. That's in stark contrast to the view in the West of Castro as a dictator who ran an oppressive one-party state for nearly five decades."
The Wall Street Journal adds more details:
“Mr. Castro, during his leadership of Cuba, didn’t use force or violence when resolving conflicts and problems in international relations and Cuba’s ties with the U.S.,” said the Chinese state-run Global Times, citing a member of the Confucius prize jury. “This has important inspirational meaning with regard to the resolution of current international conflicts.”
The jury was also impressed with Mr. Castro’s “active” diplomacy in retirement and “important contributions” to nuclear disarmament, the Global Times said in a Thursday report. These qualities helped the 88-year-old stand out from a shortlist of 14 individuals and two organizations, including South Korean President Park Geun-hye, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the Chinese Taoism Association.
But Mr. Castro, who formally stepped down in 2008 after nearly five decades in power, wasn’t in Beijing to lap up the honor. He was represented by a group of Cuban students, who left the “grand” award ceremony with a golden Confucius statue and prize certificate, the Global Times said.